Foreign Language Learning Roadblocks

He who does not know foreign languages does not know anything about his own.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kunst and Alterthum

Taking out the Roadblocks in Foreign Language Training

taped mouthDo you want to learn a new language but you simply cannot find the time to practice? You may feel that you are too old to learn which can stop you from learning the new communication skills that you could benefit from. You may not know where to go to get started. Sometimes you may be travelling and may find it difficult to find the time to learn.

Are you one of those people who cannot connect the dots to see that learning a new language can benefit you in work, travel and also in your personal life. Have you ever met someone where you couldn’t understand what they were saying? The language barrier can hinder us from being able to relate to people from other cultures.

You can learn a new language regardless of your present situation. The first thing you must do is decide what language you want to learn. There are many methods to learning a foreign language. So, once you have decided what language you want to learn, you must now decide what the best learning environment is for you and fits your schedule.

It may be difficult to find time in your busy schedule if you work long hours. You may also travel which can interfere in your ability to learn a new language. If you have children, you may find it difficult to find any time to learn a foreign language. Children can stop you from attending training programs or to attend any classes. If your children take naps, you can use this time to learn the language you want to learn.

There are learning programs that can fit into any lifestyle. Explore the Internet to find the various ways to learn a new language. You could find thousands of programs that fit your lifestyle.

Scheduled classes are a great way to learn a language, if you have the time. Classes allow you to build up social skills as you can work in a team situation. You can have private classless or you can work with a partner to help build communication skills.

You can join beginner to advanced classes, depending on your level. In some classes, you may start learning conversation methods so that you can use everyday grammar and vocabulary. If you are going on a business trip you may be able to take a quick language learning class. This can help you by providing many helpful skills that can let you improve business communications and relationships. You may also be able to customize classes to fit into your work style and schedule.

On the Internet, you can find many centres to learn. You may be able to arrange the classes to fit your lifestyle and schedule. You can learn from home or on the road, all you need is a computer and an Internet connection. You can learn at your own pace which means you can use any spare time that you have during the day to improve your ability. You could also use Cds, DVDs, videos MP3s which can also help you to learn at your own pace. If you can, you can use a foreign exchange program or work with a foreign partner as well. This can be through emails, on-line voice communications, Instant messaging and some other options. Learning with a foreign exchange partner or a friend can help both of you to build new skills.

Connect with the world by learning a second language.

Michael W

Michael W

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7 Secrets To Learning A New Language – A TED-Ed article

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

A repost from TED with tips on how to better learn a new language.

These tips make sense and should help you with your language learning. Put them into use, try them and see how learning a new language can be made easier.

How to learn a new language: 7 secrets from TED Translators

by TED Staff

By Krystian Aparta They say that children learn languages the best. But that doesn’t mean that adults should give up. We asked some of the polyglots in TED’s Open Translation Project to share their secrets to mastering a foreign language. Their best strategies distill into seven basic principles: Get real. Decide on a simple, attainable […]

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Learn A New Language Through Self-Study

Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” ‒ Flora Lewis

We all learn languages at different speeds and use different tools and methods to become fluent.

The author gives some suggested methods to learning a new language through self-study

Self Study Approaches For Learning New Languages – By Avery Parker

girl self-studyingLanguage classes are structured backwards for the way many people learn languages. When we’re learning our first language we don’t study grammar and verb conjugation. Instead our parents and early caregivers teach us vocabulary and lots of it. As a course of our learning, we misuse the language and are corrected and the grammar is sculpted and molded as we improve our use of the language.

When I set out to study new languages on my own, I tried to emulate this model. I put myself in the point of trying to absorb lots of vocabulary first and then try to learn grammar by hearing correct grammar rather than reading a book about grammar. I many times will pick up a general guide to a language so that I can learn some basics. Most books or book and audio courses though only give you a structure to work from, you have to fill in a lot of the rest of the work on your own.

One of the most important things you will need to undertake is learning vocabulary. When I initially started my self study process for studying languages I focused on TV content and reading. I tried not to get slowed down with words I didn’t know, but would pick a book that I was familiar with in English. Over time I started to learn meanings for words just by their usage. I forced myself to continue and managed to learn quite a bit of vocabulary this way.

If I were starting out again however, I would have been making use of spaced repetition software all along. Spaced repetition software is also known by the initials SRS. This is essentially note card software. I’m sure that you remember making use of note cards in school to memorize facts for tests. Well, the SRS software is more sophisticated than that, but it builds upon the same principle.

Scientists have learned a lot about long term memory and short term memory. The key to the note card software is moving information to long term memory through a process called spaced repetition. In other words seeing a fact once today puts it into short term memory. Seeing it again tomorrow reinforces that and the next day, then two days later. At this point, it’s starting to be made long term. Finally the spaces between seeing facts are gradually spread out. It’s said that it would then only take seeing some given fact like a vocabulary word once in five years to keep it fresh for another five years.

Popular titles of spaced recognition software are Mnemosyne and Anki. I personally use Mnemosyne more and have a database with a few thousand words in it. Each time now that I read in a book or newspaper or hear a new word on TV I will record the word with it’s definition in the database and that way it gets added into my routine for learning.

Since I’ve added the spaced repetition software into my routine I’ve noticed my vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds. Now, I’m comfortable that I know multiple ways of saying some of the same things. I have made use of Mnemosyne primarily and in addition to seeing the word in my second language and having to produce from memory the translation, you also see the word in your language and have to produce the word in the language you are studying.

Studying a new language is not something you do in one weekend and then you’re finished. Studying a new language is a long term goal. I set five years for myself to spend looking at one language. I feel as though I’ve achieved a decent level of fluency in that language after five years. It is something that you have to commit a consistent amount of time to on a daily basis though.

Since there is a great long term time commitment you should have very good motivation for learning a language. Otherwise, you may set yourself up for failure out of the starting gates. Don’t build up obstacles for yourself like “I never learned it in High School so I just can’t learn another language.” Anyone is capable of learning a language if they’ve first learned their native tongue.

Once you’ve made a certain amount of progress in your vocabulary, try to branch out and find more materials in your new language to start testing and improving on what you have already learned. Keep practicing your skills in as many ways as you can. This is part of the key to making what you have learned a part of your long term memory and really becoming confident and fluent in your chosen language.

If you continue to follow this guide you will become more fluent in your chosen new language. Good luck!

Avery Parker has been interested in languages for most of his adult life and maintains a site at where he has listed many of the great online resources for assisting in language learning. This interest in languages has also been fueled by an interest in Radio and TV and of course, there are many online resources that can be used for language learning. You can learn more at

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Some Very Good Reasons (7 actually) to Learn A Foreign Language

Any man who does not make himself proficient in at least two languages other than his own is a fool.” ~Martin H. Fischer

Why should you learn a foreign language?

Here are 7 good reasons why you should want to learn a foreign language now.

Learn Foreign Language Now – 7 Good Reasons – By Terry Shurts

language globeIn this article I will illustrate the importance of learning a second language for the broadening of one’s life and opportunities. You will learn the role of a second language in:

* Expanding your social life

* Gaining more business contacts

* More business opportunities

* More employment opportunities

* Increased knowledge of other cultures and places

* Travel

* Keeping your brain sharp

The importance of learning a second language is greater today than ever. As the world keeps shrinking with greater advances in communications technology and modes of travel, people are moving around both physically and in cyberspace at an ever-increasing rate. Immigration and tourism are growing rapidly in many countries. You may live in a country with one “official” language but chances are that many other languages will be spoken in that country.

Your Social Life

If you live in an area where your next door neighbors’ primary language is not your own, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to speak their language also? You can get to know them on a more personal basis, get invited to more parties and more easily ask for help if you need it. Of course, if you don’t care to talk to your neighbors or you live in an area where everyone speaks the same language, this would not apply. But what if you are the type of person who likes to spend a lot of time on-line? The Internet brings the world to your desktop! Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to chat with someone on the other side of the world in their own language?

If you are a single man or woman looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, why limit yourself to only those who speak your own language? The perfect one for you may speak a different language! Many relationships like this are made but are problematic because of the lack of communications. Having a good knowledge of the other’s primary language is a tremendous help.


If you own a business or work in sales, the importance of learning a second language should be evident. Knowing another language allows you to develop international business contacts, prepare advertising targeted to markets that speak another language or do sales work in neighborhoods with mixed languages. Expanding your market is one of the best ways to increase business, so why not learn the language of the market you are interested in? You have probably read stories of advertising screw ups where a product name or advertising copy did not translate well. You can prevent this type of thing from happening by learning the language.

Your Resume

The importance of learning a second language for business opportunities goes for employment opportunities as well. Having at least one other language on your resume is a big plus. It means that you are more valuable to the employer because you can help with more customers, deal with more business contacts or help prepare more targeted advertising.

Know Your World

If you are the type of person who likes to increase your knowledge of the world, learning a second language can be very helpful. It’s almost impossible to learn another language without learning something about the people who speak that language as well as their customs and their geographical origins. Likewise, if you really want to study a different culture, learning their language is very important in developing a complete understanding of it.


The importance of learning a second language for travel purposes is obvious. Although some English is spoken in almost all countries, if your only language is English you may have a difficult time of it. Take for instance an experience I had while traveling in Thailand. The restaurant at the hotel I was staying at had a limited menu for Westerners in English. Being unable to read Thai at the time, I chose what sounded like an intriguing breakfast item of Yam and Toast. While nibbling on the toast with butter and strawberry jam that was served, I patiently waited for my yam that I assumed was being cooked. I soon realized that I was actually eating the yam (Jam) on my toast!

Even though people in another country may speak your language, sometimes things don’t get translated quite right. Having a good knowledge of the primary language in the country you are traveling in can make for a much more pleasant stay. Not only will you avoid some mix- ups but you will be more able to make friends or even develop a romantic relationship.

Flex Your Brain

Scientists have known the importance of learning a second language for brain health for some time now. A 2004 study done by researchers from University College London found that learning a second language alters gray matter – the area of the brain which processes information – in the same way exercise builds muscles. So if you want to keep your brain healthy, learning other languages can help you do it.

In conclusion, learning other languages is good for your social life, career, recreation and your health, so start learning one today!

Copyright 2008, Terry Shurts

Terry Shurts is a world traveler, author and foreign language lover. He recently wrote a report on how to start learning a 2nd language. This free report is called Your 2nd Language Guide and is available at []

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