How to Master a Second Language?
Don't expect to master a second language in school. Language classes, even four years of foreign language classes, likely will be only your starting point.
To really master a second language requires practice and persistence. The best way is to immerse yourself in the foreign language, like you immerse your body when you enter a pool. Learning at younger ages helps keep your accent minimal.
Don't worry about making mistakes or having an accent. When people don't know your native language, or know it well, they likely will be more than tolerant of your mistakes. Very likely they'll appreciate the effort you are making.
It may seem difficult at first, but as you continue to learn your vocabulary will grow. It will become easier and easier to piece together sentences. At some point, you will know enough words to begin thinking in your new language and your words will flow as you speak. But don't stop there, continue to use your foreign language and increase your vocabulary.
Here are some more pointers.
* Listen to radio and television in your foreign language. Visit websites in the language. Watch DVDs, especially those which are in your native language and the language you are trying to learn. Read books, magazines and/or newspapers.
* Find someone who will help you practice. Don't get lazy! When you've set aside time to practice, don't start talking the language you already know. Make it fun. Make it a lunch date, or shopping trip, or golf outing where you speak nothing but the language you are trying to learn -- at least as much as practical.
*Get a pen pal. Practice writing your new language with someone in a foreign country. That's a great way to learn about their culture as well.
* Make a list of words, phrases, sayings or whatever you come across that you don't understand. Look them up in a foreign language dictionary, ask your practice partner and/or teacher what the words mean. Then learn them!
* Pay special attention to verb conjugations, the way verbs are used. Learn grammar and punctuation. Memorize them so you'll use them correctly.
* Find more ways to use your foreign language with real people. Go to an ethnic restaurant and speak your second language with waiters. Travel to ethnic communities in big cities. Visit open markets and stores. Talk with the people. And better yet, plan a vacation where the natives speak your foreign language. Book lodging, arrange for transportation, and shop. Learn to survive using your new language. Don't cheat by finding people who speak the language you already know!
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