By international PR consultant Jennifer Barnes.
However, with over 700 reasons to learn a language, including increased brainpower, better job prospects and broadened horizons, there’s no better time than today to start learning. Here are three top tips to help.
Uno: the internet
It may be where most of us spend mindless hours scrolling through Facebook, but the internet is also a great place to learn languages. There are endless resources online to help learn nearly any of the world’s 7000 languages, so there’s definitely something for everyone. For example, the BBC offers free online courses, using videos and worksheets to help you learn at your own pace.
We’re normally all glued to our phones and there seems to be one app after another which grabs the nation’s attention. Slightly more productive than Pokémon GO, Duolingo is a great app which allows you to work step by step at your own pace, learning the basics of a language in the form of an addictive game style interface.
So the next time you think you haven’t got time to learn a language, think of the time you spend idly scrolling through social networks during your commute or lunch break. With apps and the internet, you might not become fluent overnight, but you might be closer to ordering un croissant et un café quicker than you thought.
Due. Face to face courses.
For many people, face-to-face lessons are the best way to learn a language. Whether in a classroom setting or an hour a week with a private tutor, languages are best learnt by communicating with each other.
At Stone Junction, a number of us have enrolled in language courses at our local college. These courses are ideal for people can only spare one night a week after work and also offer a friendly environment, support and a structured programme. Of course, they also require a few hours spent learning vocabulary at the weekend, but perfect Portuguese doesn’t come easy.
For those who want faster progress and have the funds available, private tutoring in small groups or a one-to-one environment is a great way to learn. These sessions, while more expensive than larger group courses, can be adapted to specifically meet your needs, whether you’re learning for leisure or business. And if you want to learn a rarer language, tutors are now easily available through Skype.
Tre. Language immersion programmes.
If you really want to get involved in the culture of the language you’re learning and quickly boost your language skills, consider using your next period of annual leave for a language immersion programme. These courses, which take place in universities or institutes in the country, are a great way to combine your annual holiday in the sun with an intensive language course. Even for complete beginners, English is banned, meaning you’re forced to use the language you’re learning.
Many courses run for eight hours a day, five days a week so while they’re very intense, they’re fantastic for rapidly improving your language skills. Most programmes also offer the chance to visit local landmarks and take part in cultural activities in the evenings and at weekends, such as wine tasting, so it’s not all textbooks and verbs.
With all of these tips at hand, there’s no excuse not to take your first steps on your journey to learning a new language. We love languages at Stone Junction and our team speaks eight languages between us, so we’ve been through the trials and tribulations of language study. So if you need help with languages for your business, or are thinking of developing your business overseas, give us a call on 01785 225416 or check out our international PR page.