Whether you’re living in a foreign country and trying to learn the language or attempting a different tongue from the comfort of your own home, it can be tough to go from speaking to writing in that language. While most language instruction focuses on speaking and auditory understanding, which makes sense in many ways from a practical viewpoint, you also need to learn how to write in any foreign languages you are studying. Here are three ways you can make learning to write another language as fun and painless as possible.
If you’re trying to master a new language, an easy entree is going shopping. You don’t even have to get out of your pajamas or leave your home to do this if you don’t want to at first, nor do you have to actually purchase anything. This is a boon if you’re starting to learn the new language before ever visiting a place where it’s spoken.
Start out with a little online shopping. You’ll have to learn how to write some new words immediately just to perform an Internet search. Try playing around with different word combinations to see what your search terms bring up for you until you arrive at your desired destination.
Once you find a website you like, go through the menus to select items. As you scroll through the options, say words aloud when you read them, and click on them to see where they take you. Use descriptions you find for products on one site to perform new searches to find different websites, and keep narrowing down your criteria, just as you would in English.
If you’re already living in a foreign country, use this opportunity to go shopping live and in person. When you have to actually purchase things you need for your own pantry, you’ll learn the names more quickly. When you see the words and view the product at the same time, your brain will start to make associations between the two.
As you learn new words, write them down. Then, the next time you need to go shopping, write your list in the foreign language. Try to do it from recall without looking at your notes or a dictionary unless you really need to.
Watch Movies and Television with Subtitles
Another great way to learn how a new language is written is to watch films and television in English with subtitling in the foreign tongue. You’ll be amazed at how easily this clarifies things like the spelling of tricky words or how slang phrases are used.
Watching subtitled entertainment is frequently easiest if you live in another country where English language movies often play with subtitles rather than dubbing. If this isn’t available to you, try to find DVDs or material on sites like Youtube where subtitles abound. You may even be able to adjust the settings on some of your favorite personal DVD films to include subtitles in the new language you’re learning.
Join in on Social Media
Being active on social media is yet another way to learn how to read and write in a foreign language. Facebook and Twitter can connect you with people around the globe, and you can have real-time cyber conversations about things you enjoy like sports, politics or travel.
Like watching films or television, social media exposes you to a lot of idiomatic foreign language, which is what ultimately helps you sound like more of a native speaker. It’s a low-pressure environment in which to practice your foreign tongue and have fun at the same time.
There are also language learning sites that function more like formal instructional programs and are geared solely for language in a social media-type of environment. These may be a little less “real life” than mainstream social media but offer good opportunities to practice reading and writing a foreign language.
Learning a foreign language always has its challenges, but it can be enjoyable too. Try these three methods for becoming proficient in a new tongue, and you will likely be leaps and bounds ahead of others who only use traditional workbooks and audio files to study.