Invenio: Coaching and Mentoring January 2016 - Page 33

on your tongue, lips and throat. Pronunciation is just as much physical as it is mental:

“One way – it might sound a bit strange – is to really look at someone while they’re saying words that use that sound, and then to try to imitate that sound as much as possible. Believe me, it might be difficult at the beginning, but you will. It’s something that is actually quite easily done; you just need to practice it.”

If you can’t watch and imitate a native-speaker in person, watching foreign-language films and TV is a good substitute.

10. DIVE IN

So you’ve made the pledge. How to proceed? Is there a proper way to go about learning? Matthew recommends the 360° maximalist approach: no matter which learning tools you use, it’s crucial to practice your new language every single day:

“I tend to want to absorb as much as possible right from the start. So if I learn something I really, really go for it and try to use it throughout the day. As the week progresses I try to think in it, try to write in it, try to speak to myself even in that language. For me it’s about actually putting what you’re learning into practice – be that writing an email, speaking to yourself, listening to music, listening to the radio. Surrounding yourself, submerging yourself in the new language culture is extremely important.”

Remember, the best possible outcome of speaking a language is for people to speak back to you. simple conversation is a huge reward in itself. Reaching milestones like that early on will make it easier to stay motivated and keep practicing. And don’t worry, you won’t annoy people by speaking their language poorly. If you preface any interaction with, “I’m learning and I’d like to practice…” most people will be patient, encouraging and happy to oblige. Even though there are approximately a billion non-native English-speakers around the world, most of them would rather speak their own language if given a choice. Taking the initiative to step into someone else’s language world can also put them at ease and promote good feelings all around:

“Sure, you can travel abroad speaking your own language, but you’ll get so much more out of it being able to actually feel at ease in the place you are – being able to communicate, to understand, to interact in every situation you could possibly imagine.”

Inspired to get started?

You can learn a language the fast, fun and easy way with Babbel.

John-Erik is originally from Los Angeles, California. He studied art at The Cooper Union in New York and worked as a video editor in LA before turning his attention to writing.

Since moving to Berlin in 2009 he’s written for PLAYBerlin, the Hebbel-am-Ufer and various online publications. He’s been writing about languages for Babbel since 2014.

This post was republished with permission from www.babbel.com. You can find the original post here.