“I want to learn a new language. What’s the first thing I need to do?”
Yes, I might sound like your mom scolding you, but seriously, you have to learn how to listen to a new language in order to learn how to speak it.
How to Listen to a Foreign Language to Learn It
Watch this video with free language learning tips to understand how to listen to a foreign language to learn it. This five minute video can save you many hours of painful work later on to polish your accent.
If you listen first to your target language, before speaking, you have a better chance of having good pronunciation. However, If you launch into speaking from day one, you are likely to be speaking with a poor accent and it will be hard to rewire your brain later on to produce different sounds after you have solidified your incorrect speaking patterns.
Tune Your Ears
Free language learning is more than just finding free online programs and software. Really learning a new language means you have to change your key and tune. Dancing the cha-cha to waltz music is like speaking a new language while still using the rhythm of your mother tongue. Let yourself take in the sounds of the language as though you were listening to a new piece of music. You can find free music in the language that you’re trying to learn online, at the library, on the radio in your car.
Pay Attention to How People Speak
Even if you are just a beginner and barely know any words, you can still learn by listening. Does it seem like they are reading a phone number or rattling of a list of numbers? Are they angry? Happy?
Listen to the words spoken to you and listen to your own intuition. Free language learning means that you have to shut off your brain and inclination to interpret and analyze. You have to learn to get a feel for the language so that it becomes natural for you to listen to and speak the language.
Music Engages Your Brain Differently Than Language
Relax and listen to music in the language you are learning Free language learning involves listening to music and having fun. Music engages more parts of your brain than language does. That’s why you get commercial jingles stuck in your head! You’re more likely to remember new words if you hear them in a song than if you just read them in a book or hear them spoken.
Find Music That You Like In Your Target Language
It doesn’t matter if at first you don’t understand the lyrics. Pick music you like. You may start singing along without even knowing what you are singing. That’s fine. You are not only learning the rhythm of the language, you are learning new vocabulary.
Don’t Try to Understand, Just Enjoy It First
Relax and close your eyes. Turn off the lights. Lay down or sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and listen to the music. Don’t try to understand the words, just listen. You might fall asleep or day dream. Give yourself the time to simply listen and not do anything else. Your mind needs to be calm in order to absorb the sounds. Your ears need no other distractions to let them properly hear all the high, medium and low frequencies of the language. Do this regularly.
Looking For Some Language Learning Music Resources?
Here are some Internet resources to find foreign language music:
- YouTube Just do a search for the language of the music you are looking for. It’s best to write the name of the language as it’s spelled in the language, like español for Spanish.
- LyricsTraining is an easy and fun method to learn and improve your foreign languages skills through the music videos and lyrics of your favorite songs.
- Foreign Internet Radio and Online News Radio: A directory of foreign language radio stations online.
What Are Your Favorite Listening Tips
Have you got a favorite listening tip? Radio station? or Type of music? Leave a comment below and tell us all about it!
Photo By: Sydney Miller