This post is by guest author Robert Bell. Robert Bell is a full article writer who writes on various internet sites about his experience in learning Spanish while traveling and working in Latin America.
If you want to learn a foreign language then there are a number of ways of doing it. The best way of doing it is probably a mixture of several different approaches; some formal classes, online interactive courses, a bit of television watching and some traveling.
This blend of learning methods will ensure that you are kept on your toes and learn different kinds of thing from each way. The subject I am interested in covering here is the informal approach of learning using the television, films and maybe even the radio. If this sounds too difficult then don’t worry, as we will look at how you can build up to it gradually.
It is clear that you aren’t going to just switch on the TV and starting watching foreign language programs without any sort of base in the language. This part of the process comes when you have a limited vocabulary you want to increase and when you want to train your ear to pick up the words which you already know.
A good start is to look for something which is in the language you are learning but with English subtitle captioning. Trying to listen to what is being said and read at the same time may seem impossible at first but you will soon start to get the hang of it.
If the best you can get hold of is something in the foreign tongue and with foreign subtitles then this will do as well although it will be trickier for you at the beginning. In the long run this is actually the best approach for most people; as it makes you think in your second language rather than constantly translate from English.
Once you are ready to watch something with no subtitles or listen to the radio this is a big step. A good idea is to start with something easy such as a kid’s program or a documentary where the presenter speaks clearly and slowly. The radio is particularly difficult to listen to in a foreign language as you have no images to grab onto.
As I mentioned, this really comes after taking some more formal classes. Some professional Spanish classes in Kansas with a native speaker will get you going in this language. There are also good quality French classes in Kansas and other US cities, which will give you the grounding and the confidence you need to get you started on French films and radio.
photo by: Brian Snelson