An Expats Guide to Learning Another Language

How to Learn Another Language | Language Learning Tips | Sharing a few useful day-to-day strategies and tips on how to teach yourself another language.

How to learn another language, an expats perspective…

When I decided to move to Paris I barely spoke a word of French besides a few key words and phrases like ‘Bonjour’, ‘Merci beaucoup’ and the all – important ‘Un café au lait, s’il vous plaît’. In the following weeks I got straight into learning French as I prepared to relocate to the land of delicious pastries, endless museums and beautiful architecture. Whilst I am by no means fluent (yet!) my French is exponentially better than when I first arrived.

Here are a few tips from an expats perspective on how to learn another language. Happy learning!

Apps and Audio Courses: 

There are plenty of language learning apps out there to choose from. My advice would be to select an app that facilitates reading, writing, listening and speaking. Personally I use Duolingo as it covers all of those areas. Whilst the app is convenient to use anywhere on the go I prefer to practice on the desktop version when possible, as it provides less hints and is a bit more challenging.

Whilst travelling or walking around I also love listening to audio courses. For instance I have found the Michel Thomas Method to be very helpful, as it encourages you to formulate sentences of your choosing and not rely on phrases. It was also fascinating to learn just how much of the English language indeed comes from French!

Turn on Subtitles: 

This has been a really fun habit to get into. Think about all of the time you spend watching television, movies etc. You would be surprised at how much you can subconsciously learn day – to – day. Particularly whilst binge watching your favourite show…we have all been there.

The wonderful Paris cinema scene is another really good way to pick up the language. With a huge range of French subtitled new release and classic English language films screening year round. The Cinémathèque Française in particular offers a great program of classic films if you are after a bit of Hollywood nostalgia. 

How to Learn Another Language | Language Learning Tips | Sharing a few useful day-to-day strategies and tips on how to teach yourself another language.

Read, Read, Read: 

At first this is going to be a very slow process and Google translate (highly recommend downloading the app) will really become your friend but with practice you will be reading sentences and paragraphs with relative ease.

My advice is to start small and work your way up. Things like newspapers and children’s books are a great place to start. When it comes to reading novels in French I suggest starting with books that you have already read and are pretty familiar with in regards to the plot.

It is a good habit to get into when you are out and about as well. For instance whenever I visit a museum or art gallery I take a hard copy of the French information guide and attempt to read the French signage as much as possible.

Hit the Markets: 

You pick up so much practical French at the markets, including everyday greetings, counting and the names of all those yummy foods and gorgeous flowers on display. Not to mention the tips and tricks you pick up from observing interactions between market vendors and other customers.

Consistency is Key: 

What works for one person differs for another but I have found it beneficial to utilise a range of strategies in my day – to – day life. Consistency truly is key when learning another language so I highly recommend factoring in some time (even five minutes is beneficial) each day to practice.

How to Learn Another Language | Language Learning Tips | Sharing a few useful day-to-day strategies and tips on how to teach yourself another language.How to Learn Another Language | Language Learning Tips | Sharing a few useful day-to-day strategies and tips on how to teach yourself another language.

What are your thoughts?

Are you currently learning another language? I would love to know about your experiences, tips and tricks in the comments below!

2 Comments

Victoria Russell

I've found Earworms to be excellent but unfortunately they only seem to have made Earworms 1 and 2. I like Michel Thomas too even if he is somewhat annoying the method is very good and interesting that a lot of words are just transformation. I have been subscribing to bien-dire magazine which has French articles with a French to English translation of key words from the article. However after trying to communicate with our French friends we mostly give up an resort to English and hand gestures. As for trying to speak French in France as only a visitor I always think of Graham Robb's quote from Parisians "after trying to practice the language I had understood to be French, I decided that Paris was best experienced in a state of silent contemplation. " Haven't tried Duolingo though will give it a go.

11:34 March 5, 2017
Reply

    Christie Moore | Dark Blue Stripes

    Thanks for sharing your experience and tips Victoria! I hadn't heard of Earworms before. The music component is really interesting. Iv'e found magazines to be really useful as well. My French reading skills are definitely stronger than my speaking skills at this stage. Cheers, Christie.

    16:06 March 9, 2017
    Reply
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