Language barriers can be frustrating and confusing for anyone, but having them with friends or family can make you feel almost powerless in communicating. These can range from inconvenient to disastrous, but with these tips to quick, simple language-learning, you'll be able to minimise any misunderstandings that come from not speaking another language.
Understand Keywords and Phrases
Learn words and phrases commonly used in the country you are visiting or moving to. It not only demonstrates that you are making an effort to connect with local people and that you are polite, but it could also help you if you get lost, need to get somewhere, or are receiving medical treatment, which is critical. Here are some must-know phrases:
- Thank you
- Do you speak English?
Expressing yourself in plain language makes sure others can understand you better. Gestures can also be useful. Make a note of every word and phrase you hear. Always be prepared! If someone says a specific word or phrase that you don't understand, ask them to write it down. Later, you can look up what the word or phrase means. If you see any word, no matter how simple, write it down and look it up to find out what it means. This is a component of self-education. A little effort can go a long way if you don't speak their language. You may not be able to tell stories or request complicated favors in their language, but even learning a few phrases can help make all communication easier.
Being friendly and respectful goes a long way when visiting or relocating to a new country. They will assist you if you are friendly to the locals. Learning a new language is difficult, so when you speak to locals, they may not fully understand you. It is critical that you do not become frustrated when they do not understand you, and that you remember that they are doing their best to assist you.
Dispel the myth that you are "bad at languages." While it is estimated that well over half of the world's population is at least bilingual, it is common in English-speaking countries to hear that learning another language is simply impossible because they're "not very good at it!"
Get out of your comfort zone
Learners frequently make the mistake of not pushing themselves to use the language they're learning in real-world scenarios. Spend as much time as possible with people who do not speak your native tongue. You'll be forced to practice outside of the classroom this way. If you don't know any native speakers, attend meet-ups and language exchanges, or look for people to chat with online. It won't be easy at first: you may feel self-conscious and concerned about what other people think when you make a mistake. But keep in mind that learning is a process, and you're getting better every day. Simply getting out of your comfort zone is where growth occurs
Try going on YouTube to find free, accessible learning resources! From educational content aimed directly at language learners to regular English content - such as vlogs - you're sure to find something that piques your interest. Make time every day to watch a YouTube video or two. If you learn a new expression or grammatical structure, make a note of it and return the next day to revise it.
There are also some fantastic social media accounts available that can assist you in learning English in a fun way. If you want to improve your pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, you can find curated accounts run by teachers and educational companies. Don't forget to set your accounts' language to the language for extra practice!
Read a book
Remember that book you really liked and wanted to reread? This is the time. Just make sure to get the language-you-want-to-learn version! Reading is one of the best ways to expand your vocabulary and become more fluent in the English language. It's even better if you've already read the book in your native tongue. If you don't understand something, chances are you'll remember what happened and be able to fill in the gaps.
Try thinking in the language!
Let's take an example of you wanting to be fluent in Spanish.
Translate your thoughts into Spanish. Perhaps the long-awaited "switch" has yet to occur, and you're still thinking in your native language when speaking Spanish, translating sentence by sentence. Here's an idea you could try. Try switching to Spanish whenever you find yourself thinking in your native language. Because no one can hear your thoughts, you won't feel embarrassed, but you can still practice by making up mini-conversations or describing things around you to yourself. It may sound ridiculous, but take our word for it. It will assist you in beginning to think in English when you are having a conversation that is not in your head.
Little steps can go a long way!