How Can You Sound Like A Native Speaker In A Foreign Language?

I would like to share with you three secrets to sounding like a native speaker when speaking a foreign language.

The first secret is that you want to imitate sounds and behavior of the person in the foreign language because the more that you imitate the sounds and not just the words, you’re going to pick up the intonation and the inflexion and you’re going to sound much more like a native speaker. But beyond that, if you pick up the gestures and the movements and the way that a native speaker holds him or herself, you’ll notice that that will actually help your ability to speak and make the sounds and have the intonation of a native speaker which brings us to the second technique which is imitating rhythm.

Listen to somebody talking a foreign language as if they were singing. Try to find the rhythm in the music behind the speech. If you imitate the rhythm then that will even if you mispronounce the word, you will sound much more like a native speaker than if you get the words right but it don’t have the correct rhythm.

The third thing I’d like to say really has to do with native English speakers. One of the biggest problems that native English speakers have is the R. The letter R is very unique within the languages and becomes a flag to other people from other countries to identify a native English speaker when he’s speaking a foreign language. But there is a trick in a way that you can eliminate this flag and speak a foreign language in a way that people won’t instantly recognize that you are of an English speaker and that is to make your R’s more like a D.

For example, in the Spanish word “pero” which means “but” is in the sense of “I would like to go but,” instead of saying the R normally, try to put your tongue at the top of your mouth or at the roof of your mouth and make it sound more like a D, pero. If you do that especially in languages like Spanish where you need to roll your R but you’re not able to it just like I’m not able to roll my R’s correctly, people will not recognize that you are an English speaker. They may think that you’re a foreign but at least they won’t think that you’re a native speaker and in doing so overall your speech will sound much more like a native speaker than if you said your R’s with an American accent or with an English accent.

Roger Easlick is passionate about languages and would like to share his techniques for learning languages with you. Please visit www.CrushALanguage.com.

Are You Too Old To Learn A Foreign Language?

You may be surprised that it’s easier for an adult to learn a foreign language than it is for a child. The reason for that is that there are three traits that you must have to learn a foreign language and most adults are better at this than children.

The first trait that’s very important in learning a language is focus. An adult generally can control his focus much better than a child. If the task is interesting then the child gives it his full attention and is often able to learn very quickly but the problem is that children aren’t very good at controlling their focus. They have a goldfish mentality. Anything that comes into their line of view or any noises that are made in the room will instantly distract them and destroy or hinder their ability to learn. An adult on the other hand, can stay focused regardless of the situation around him.

The second thing that you really need to be able to learn a foreign language is discipline. You need to be able to do things every day even when it’s not the most exciting thing you can think of to do. You need to make it exciting. A child likes for things to be made exciting but can’t really make things exciting his or herself oftentimes. An adult is very much better at that and that means that you study every day, that you learn every day and you’re going to learn more faster than someone who can only learn when they’re sitting in a classroom and being taught by a teacher.

And the last thing that’s very important and probably the most important thing you need to be able to learn a foreign language which makes it much easier for adults to learn than children is attitude. Attitude is everything. If you have the right attitude then you can only learn a foreign language much faster than anyone else, a child or another adult. The attitude that you need to have is one where you’re not afraid to make mistakes, you’re able to study on a regular basis and you can keep yourself interested and motivated by finding topics and people to talk to who are very interested in the language and that keep you interested.

Roger Easlick is passionate about languages and wants you to be too. For more information on tips and tricks on how to learn languages faster, visit www.CrushALanguage.com.

How Much Time Should You Spend Studying A Foreign Language?

You may be surprised at the answer to “How long you should spend studying a foreign language every day?” The answer is simple, there is no optimal amount of time. But there are some guidelines to make sure that you get the most out of studying a language every day.

The biggest secret to learning a foreign language is that you do something every day. It’s much more important that you spend five minutes or learn a phrase or two every day than you try to read half a book or a book once every couple of weeks. You’ll get much more out of the phrase and probably overall you’ll do more because if you can get yourself to at least study a phrase or spend 5 to 10 minutes reading or listening or especially speaking then you’ll find that on a good day you’ll probably easily spend a half hour to an hour or longer. But the minimum is one dialogue or one phrase a day.

The best way to spend that time of course would be with another live human being. If you happen to be in the country where they speak that language then finding a language partner could be very simple. Even if you live in a country where that language is not spoken and it’s hard to find people, there are ways of finding foreign language exchange partners either through the university or online.

Another tip I’ll give you is whatever you do, don’t overdo your daily study. It may seem a good idea to try to pack in as much as possible but make sure that you give yourself some rest. What you don’t want to do is overdo it and burn out and then never come back to studying it. A little bit every day, especially speaking to another person and you’ll find that you get more and more enjoyment out of it and as your skills increase, it will be easier to make conversation with people in that language and then you’ll find yourself spending more time doing it. Remember to study every day, to do a little bit and to make sure that you speak with another human being as much as possible.

Roger Easlick has been speaking foreign languages for over 30 years and is incredibly passionate about foreign languages and I would like you to be passionate about languages as well. For more information, visit www.CrushALanguage.com.

Why You Should Start Speaking In A Foreign Language Right Away

I want to share a secret with you about how to learn to speak a foreign language well quickly. And the secret is this – you need to start speaking it right away. There are some courses out there that tell you or teach you that you should first learn all of the sounds of the language and then learn the grammar, maybe then some vocabulary and once you’re able to put it all together by yourself then you can actually start speaking a language to someone else.

I say that is all wrong. The reason I was able to learn Spanish without ever having taken the Spanish course is because I started speaking Spanish right away. The best way to start is perhaps finding phrases or find a phrase book because phrase books generally have the most important things that you’re going to want to say in a foreign language or need to say and they’re all compiled for you. They have audio to them so you can understand or practice your pronunciation and the grammar is already there in context so you don’t really have to worry about changing that or understanding that.

Languages require experience but if you’re talking to another human being, the time passes quickly and painlessly and it’s actually rewarding experience to struggle with the language while you were talking to another human being. It doesn’t feel like you’re really exerting any effort at all.

Another important point is that many people lack confidence when they speak a foreign language. The best the fastest way to get over this lack of confidence is to start speaking and making small mistakes and getting used to the sound of your own voice and your own accent as you speak a foreign language. That way, you can start improving your accent and increasing your confidence from day 1 and you won’t have that big fear that may build up if you were to learn an awful lot of vocabulary and grammar and then be worried that the first time you open your mouth it sounded strange after you’ve considered yourself to be a very good speaker.

All in all, you really need to start speaking a language from day 1. It’ll improve your confidence, it’ll improve your vocabulary and it will help you with your accent. Let’s face it, it’s just more fun that way.

Roger Easlick has a passion for foreign languages and would like to see you speak with confidence and have fun at it. For more information, visit www.CrushALanguage.com.

How Do You Find A Language Exchange Partner?

Finding a foreign language exchange partner can be very easy if you take the right approach. I was able to find exchange partners when I was living in Germany even though most of the people that I would meet were really interested in German and I was not a native German speaker. Still because of my attitude, I was able to overcome some obstacles to which otherwise would’ve doomed to be without a foreign language partner or to have to have paid a foreign language partner to spend time with me.

If you happen to be in the larger city one of the best ways to find a foreign language partner is through the university language department. You can either call of now probably go online and see if there is some sort of service or language board or bulletin board where you might be able to post your interest in finding a language partner. If that doesn’t work, I’d make a phone call to the university to the language department. Normally, the people there are very helpful especially if it is a public university.

If you have problems finding a language partner at the university or you don’t live near university town and so the distance to get there would be too much to make it worthwhile then a second alternative or an alternative to the university would using a website such as MeetUp.com. MeetUp.com basically brings people in a local area together for all kinds of different situations and definitely there are a lot of groups for studying foreign languages.

Another possibility is a virtual language exchange partner which you could find by going to a website such as MyLanguageExchange.com. There they have an interface where you can sign up and find people wanting to learn your language offering their language in exchange and you can filter by whether the person is interested in only chatting, only sending emails or doing voice chat which is something that you can easily do in a program like Skype.

Whatever you do, try to find a language partner as soon as possible. It will definitely make it easier for you to continue and to advance your language skills.

Roger Easlick is passionate about languages and would like to get you motivated to start speaking a foreign language today. For more information, check out his website at www.CrushALanguage.com.

How Do You Measure How Well You Speak A Foreign Language?

For the most part, I think you shouldn’t really worry too much about how well you speak a foreign language. You should just enjoy it. But I understand and I’d like to measure my abilities as well to give myself a challenge to do more. Here are a couple of ways that you can measure your ability or how well you speak a foreign language.

First of all, you can listen and retell. You listen to stories or read stories and then try to retell them without any help. This will give you an indication of how well you’ve learned the language, what level your vocabulary is especially if you do this out loud, you will see how spontaneously you can come up with a vocabulary and put the sentences together to retell the story and show how well you can speak the language.

Another way to measure your foreign language skills is to play word games or other games where you have to come up with or recognize vocabulary words and that can be a very fun way to measure your skills and to continue to challenge yourself.

A third way and probably the most formal way is to take a formalized test, something along the lines of the CEFR which is the Common European Framework for Reference which is a guideline that a number of different testing services use to measure foreign language ability. Some of these include the Goethe Institut, the [Olean Frances 02:04], the Michigan test, the Cambridge test, TOEFL, and others.

But I think that the most important way to measure your language skill is to see how comfortable you are speaking to another person. Fluency in my way of defining it is just that how comfortable are you and how readily do the words flow and the ideas flow from your thoughts into words. After all, what you really are looking for is to be able to speak comfortably with another person. To the extent which you can do that, that will determine the abilities that you have to satisfy an employer or to find a restaurant or to do any function that you’d like to do in a foreign language.

The more comfortable you are then the better you’re going to speak and the more interest the other person has is going to listen. So whether you’re going to sell or whether you’re going to just to find out information, probably seeing how comfortable you are with the language is one of the most important ways you can judge your language abilities.

Roger Easlick has a passion for language and would like to share that with you. For more information, visit www.CrushALanguage.com.

Why Should A Native English Speaker Learn A Foreign Language?

Contrary to popular belief, it is a very good idea these days even if you’re a native English speaker to learn a foreign language. First of all, not everyone speaks English. Even though most of the rest of the world does teach English in their schools, the courses aren’t necessarily very favored by a lot of students and so although they’ve had some English, they quickly forget it or only know a bare minimum which may not even be enough to carry on a basic conversation. So if you learn a foreign language then you are going to be able to speak and communicate with a much larger number of people.

Another reason that you should speak a foreign language is to be able to understand the culture that these people are from and to understand why people do what they do. That can help you when you travel, you can get better hotel rates, see more interesting sites, and maybe even have a free guided tour of cities and sites of interest along the way by people because you’ve shown a basic interest in understanding their culture and their language.

Another reason to study a foreign language is to get a better job. Let’s face it, the world has become a much smaller place over the last few years. Now, where it used to be that everybody else was expected to learn English, many cultures have become much stronger and they expect for people to be able to speak their language as well. If you think of the growth of China or of places like Brazil, then they are not native English speakers and to be able to speak either Portuguese for Brazil or Mandarin or Cantonese for China means that since we do a lot more business here in the United States or in the English speaking world with those countries, you will be able to be a favorite candidate for any job dealing with those countries.

Roger Easlick speaks five languages fluently and would like to help you get a better job and understand more about the cultures of other countries by learning a foreign language. For more information, contact or visit www.CrushALanguage.com.

Why learning to speak Chinese is easy

I never thought I would say that learning to speak Chinese is easy. Here are three reasons why I now say it is…

First off, there is little grammar. There are no conjugations, no tenses, no articles and no cases. If you have already delved into other foreign languages, you can appreciate how the lack of those barriers can simplify learning a language.

Watch your tone! For native English speakers, learning how to deal with the five tones in Chinese will take a little getting used to. But only a little. A course like The Michel Thomas Method will make dealing with tones almost a treat.

Needless to say, method matters. I spent a year diligently listening to Pimsleur on the way to work with very little to show for it.

After a month of the Michel Thomas Method, I can confidently put small but meaningful sentences together. Dr. Harold Goodman, who created the content for the Chinese edition of the Michel Thomas Series did a good job of remaining true to some basic and very successful techniques for language learning which Thomas was famous for.

1) Tell a visually graphic story that blends meaning with sound – So for example, Goodman tells his students  that the word for “to speak” in Mandarin (shuo3) sounds like the famous playwright “George Bernard Shaw.”

2) Get your body involved – Goodman has you jab with your finger or thumb or to use a fist to help you remember how to pronounce a word with the correct tone. You’d be surprised how greatly such a small gesture can help you pick up a language.

3) Break the language down into small building blocks. It appears at first that Pimsleur uses this approach, but Pimsleur doesn’t explain how the building blocks can be used together which leaves you with a few fixed phrases that you can’t very well build on to suit your needs.

When I first started Mandarin, I thought I would leave the characters for later. Then I stumbled across a new website called Memrise, which showcases a new way of learning Chinese characters. (They are adding a multitude of other languages, currently in beta, as well.)

Memrise uses the best of the best techniques to get you to remember new words, phrases and characters.

It seems to make use of a technique which is gaining in popularity called the Spaced Repetition System (SRS). The cool thing about SRS is that it tends to get you to focus on terms that you are already somewhat familiar with just at the moment when you are about to forget that particular term.

In reality, you may have already forgotten it, but Memrise seems to be very effective in repeating material in such a way that it strengthens your retention with each pass.

Memrise is also referred to as an “online farming game,” since you get points by watering your “plants” so that they don’t wilt and are constantly “growing your garden.”

If you take the attitude that different is interesting and see the novelty in the difference in languages and you use the methods I ‘ve mentioned above, I think you will enjoy learning to speak Chinese.

 

 

 

How To Speak Two Foreign Languages Without Mixing Them Up

Speaking two foreign languages without mixing them up is very simple if you follow a couple of basic guidelines. First, you want to become fluent in one language before starting a second language. What that means is that you want to be able to automatically speak some basic phrases in the first language before you even begin the second language. That comes with practice. If you just practice it enough then the words and the phrases in the first foreign language will become very automatic and when you add the second language, you won’t have any problems speaking the second language.

That means that you should speak as much as possible. If possible, find a language partner either locally or online but if you can’t find anybody to talk to then you should go ahead and give virtual tours of your house, explain when you’re exercising what you’re doing, explain what you’re doing when you’re cooking, you can talk to another person that maybe is very patient but doesn’t understand the language or a child or even if lacking that, you can explain things to a dog or an imaginary audience.

The third device or technique that I use is to develop a language persona. A language persona means that each language has its own feel to it and if you speak as you learn the culture and as you learn the language, you start to develop your own idea in your own way of speaking, in your own sort of language personality or a persona. So you want to develop that persona, amplify that persona, make it into something as clear and as identifiable as possible and as you speak the words and the phrases, the phrases will start to attach themselves to the persona when you start the second language you will develop this persona in that language and then the words in that language will also be identified with the second language.

Therefore, in your mind when you take on a persona for a specific language you won’t mix it up with the second one because not only is the word tied to the language, it’s tied to a persona and associated with other more things and it will make it so it’s very easy to keep speaking just one language.

Roger Easlick wants to help you speak foreign languages fluently, easily, automatically and effortlessly. For more tips and tricks, check out the website at www.CrushALanguage.com.

How To Speak A Foreign Language Fluently

Being able to speak a language fluently is much easier than you may think. First of all, let’s talk about what fluent means. Speaking fluently to me means that I can speak automatically, effortlessly and easily and converse about normal topics with it seeming totally normal just like I would in my own native language.

The first trick to being able to speak a foreign language fluently is to speak early, often and always. You should take every opportunity that you can find to speak out loud in a foreign language if possible with a native speaker. If that’s not possible, go ahead and speak to yourself, explain things, look around if you’re driving in your car, if you’re riding in the subway or a tram, look around you, try to explain maybe silently to yourself what’s going on but at every opportunity you should try to speak out loud. That’s going to help your pronunciation, that’s going to build your vocabulary and it’ll also build your confidence with the foreign language.

Another trick is to imagine being fluent, that is to imagine that it’s easy to speak a foreign language. Just notice how easy it is to speak your own language and then imagine that the words were coming out in a foreign language but you still have that same feeling of ease and relaxation while you’re speaking the foreign language.

And the third trick of course is to get yourself a foreign language partner. In this day and age of the Internet, it is very easy even if you don’t live in a large city to find someone to speak a foreign language with. Of course, if you do live in a larger city where there’s a university then you should be able to go down to the university and post and ask for a language exchange. Sometimes you can even contact people who are offering lessons and give them a reason to talk to you. Maybe you’ll find out what their hobbies are or what their main interest is and you find out that you have something to offer there where you can teach them something about that specific topic in exchange for them talking to you in a foreign language.