Just a couple of tips that I think are helpful to learn languages while you are living in the country (like me in Greece). I assume most people should know them but I get surprised by how many times they don’t. Here we go.
1. Translate everything you see!
Whenever you see any signs on streets or shops, translate them. Any simple instructions: translate! Advertisements? Do translate! It is very often overlooked by a lot of people but simply being in a foreign country and translating all the information around you, you do expand your knowledge and given enough time, this can help you enough to learn the language even if you don’t put effort into it.
2. Always look up words and grammar you did not know during conversations.
Whenever you speak and you find out that you could not express something because you lacked the word or the grammar needed, make a mental note and look it up after the conversation. Even if you have gotten your way around it, do look up the word. It will be relevant to you so you will be more likely to remember it and the fact that you did need it in practice makes it all the more likely that you will need it again so it’s probably a good word to learn. Also it’s a non-painful way to learn grammar.
3. Practice mental conversations with yourself
Whenever you feel like it, and you are thinking to yourself, try to translate it to your target language. Try to imagine how the conversation would go in that language and what would you say. A lot of times you will also find words that you do not know and for that you can refer to tip #2. You don’t have to have other people around to practice!
These tips, of course, can be generalized for situations even when you are learning out of the country. They are just things I consider helpful. What do you think?
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