How To Improve Language Skills
By: Hassan Ahmed
“I read I forget, I see I remember, I do I understand”. This simple statement is the ultimate rule that a person can ascribe to if he wants to improve or even learn a language effectively.
Because you have to understand one thing over here, most people look for shortcuts and little tips to achieve something. The reason behind this approach is to reduce human effort. They do not want to strive to achieve something.
Nonetheless, in this article, we will try to cover the skills that you can adopt to improve your language skills.
The first step required to learn a new language is to listen to it properly. A lot of immigrants that start living in foreign countries have no prior experience of that particular language but still, manage to converse in that. They get by listening to it. Their efficiency of language ameliorates once their mind starts to conceptualize the intact connotations of words due to listening repetitively. The tone of words and sounds of expressions assists them to understand how to convey a message. Moreover, listening also helps you to pronounce words in their proper form. Many people might not know the intricacies of that language’s grammatical constructs but may pronounce it exactly in the region’s accent. Hence, listening is extremely important. You can also improve your languages skills by listening to the following:
One of the easiest ways to improve your language skills is to watch movies. You can replay scenes and actually concentrate on film dialogues. This will show you how a sentence is constructed. Many people actually learn foreign languages just by watching movies and tv shows. For instance, the lead singer of the K-pop band ‘BTS’, learned English by watching reruns of the hit sitcom ‘Friends. Hence, this is a fun and fruitful activity.
If you are looking for a more effective and serious way to improve your language skills, besides all the hassle and glamour of movies, then listening to Podcasts is the next best thing. Podcasts will allow you to focus more deeply on the language spoken. Secondly, It's audio so you won’t get distracted by the video. Hence, subscribe to podcast shows that might interest you. This strategy will allow you to listen more carefully.
Your language skills can immensely improve if you listen to music in the language you are trying to learn. However, in this context, try to focus on the lyrics of the song. Then repeat them on your time. You may not remember the exact words right away, but if you remember the composition of the song, you can associate specific words with the tune. This practice can help you become fluent in a very small period of time.
The second step after listening is to start speaking the language. You can listen to all you want, but you’ll never improve your skills unless and until you start conversing in the language you are trying to improve. Many people refrain from speaking due to fear of failure. And that’s where the journey ends before it even starts. Never shy away from making mistakes. Because the more you make them, the more chances of learning will appear. This is a constant learning process. Hence, you should enjoy the journey.
On the other hand, you can make the process of speaking more effective by following the listed activities;
a) Talk with your Family & Friends
The best way to start speaking is to do it with someone who will always encourage you. And who can support you more than your family and friends? It will become a fun activity rather than a hectic routine. Meanwhile, it will also boost your confidence to take initiative, and will eventually enable you to find your voice.
b) Public Speaking
If you want to test your language skills, there is nothing more challenging than public speaking. It will not only test your language skills but will also test your nerves. You will try your best efforts when you are speaking in a group discussion or in front of a class or a huge audience. This strategy will push you to take help from your teachers or seniors so that you don’t make mistakes. Hence, a very good strategy to develop strong conversation skills.
There is a famous saying that goes, “Reading is to mind, what exercise is to the body”.Your brain is a muscle. And just like your body, it needs to be worked upon to function efficiently. Once you take up the task of reading, you are utilizing your brain to perform certain functions. The first time you read, you are asking your mind to analyze the text. It may take some time but eventually, you get there. Then after analyzing, your brain starts to interpret the meaning behind those words. And once you interpret the text clearly, you understand the message. This is the most efficient way of improving your grip over a language. The more frequently you do it, the better you will get at it. However, there are certain things that you should consider reading first, for instance;
What better way to start off your reading tasks but by reading things that you see the most but never pay attention towards; Billboards. For people who are starting to learn a new language, especially if you are in a foreign country, your aim should be to first enable yourself to read all the signboards and banners. This will allow you to settle in a foreign place more quickly and adapt to your surroundings.
b) Books, Articles, Newspaper
Today’s generation should consider itself lucky and fortunate for being born in the era of the internet. Because technology has made it possible for people to read books, articles, and newspapers anywhere, anytime, and just under the click of a single button. So if you do not have much time, you can download certain apps on your mobile phones, which will assist you while you read. Hence, you do not have to avail of the services of tutors in this regard. So you can start off by reading children’s books and then move to novels, articles, blogs, and then newspapers.
Conclusively, we can say that if you want to achieve something or become proficient at speaking a language, you have to go through the process. There is no shortcut or any methodology that can enable you to become fluent. You have to practice and practice. Consistency is the key here. But it’s important to ensure that the direction you take to learn a language is the right one for you.
After critically analyzing your level, understand where you stand. If you are just a beginner, start off with small steps and then eventually build a strong foundation. On the contrary, if you are at an intermediate level go for good novels and books. And if you want to become an expert, prefer to take lessons from other experts. Only they can guide you on what to do. Thereby, it’s all up to you. You decide where you want to go. However, if you abide by the above-mentioned tips, they will surely make the entire process easy for you.