FFE Magazine

10 ways to learn a new language for free


Have just moved to a new country and you need to learn a new language but you can not afford paying for a private tutor or a language school? Go on reading because our language expert Rafa, who speaks 5 different languages will give you some valuable tips on how you can master a new language in the shortest time.



Before we start, have in mind that the faster you learn the new language the better. Just imagine you’ve been living in a new country for couple of years already but your knowledge of the language spoken in that country is only up to Bonjour, Dankeschön, ¿Qué tal, or some common phases that lets you get by with your daily errands.


The bad thing with this is that when caught in a situation where you cannot express yourself you would be very frustrated. Lets say someone cuts in front of you in line and you want to tell the person “I came first in line” you may just shriek away and allow the person to cut in because you cannot express yourself. You leave fuming in frustration.


The other problem is that the longer you leave in a new country without learning the language the less enthusiastic you would be to learn it. So do not go that path and embrace the language and culture of the new country you are in, without forgetting your own of course.


Here are my tips:

1) Free Language courses. Look for free language courses normally set up by charity organizations, or the city council in your city.



2) Exchange language lessons. Put an ad in your local super market’s advertisement board looking for individuals who want to learn your language, so that you can exchange language lessons.



3) Voluntary visiting friends to elderly. In many European countries the elderly live either alone or in an elderly house, and thus are in less contact with the outside world. Contact the senior citizen’s associations in your city and register yourself as voluntary visiting friend to visit an elderly once or twice a week.


Your elderly host will love to have a visitor, even more when the visiting friend is from a far and exotic place as the Philippines -a visiting foreigner friend who also can tell stories about her homeland.


Remember that by having a senior citizen friend you would learn about your new country’s history first hand. Having an elderly as your ad hoc mentor allows you to make as many mistakes as you would have since they are very patient and are proud to be of help in your learning of their language.


In short, being a voluntary visiting friend could be an effective way for you to learn the new language, and also be your gateway to integration into the new society.


If you cannot remember all what you were thought at school about the Filipino language, history and culture, do not feel sad, we have it all for you. Just click on FFE’s Pilipinas Kong Mahal section and freshen up your knowledge on everything you need to know about the Philippines. If there are things you want to know more about, just drop us a line or two, our in-house experts will answer you promptly.


4) Join a sports club. If you are into sports, sign yourself up to your favorite sports club, there are clubs for almost any kind of sport in almost all European cities. Engaging in sports while trying to grapple with a new language is a very effective technique to learn it faster, because not only do you have to concentrate in sports itself but you need to articulate yourself to your team mates.



5) Speak the new language even with other Filipinos. Try to speak the new language, as much as possible, even when speaking with Filipino friends. You would actually have more confidence to speak freely since you will have less fear that you might not be able to express yourself correctly.


I always remember when I was studying in UK, I was surprised to hear my block-mates from Malaysia taking in English to each other. When I asked them why they were not talking in their own language, they told me that was a habit they had developed while studying abroad to help each other and specially the neophytes who had just arrived from Malaysia to get rid of their fear of speaking English to foreigners.




6) Talk to children. Their sentence construction is normally simpler than that of adult’s, thus they are easier to understand and communicate with. Plus, you can bet they would correct you if your pronunciation is not up to standard. Reading their books is also very helpful. Children books have more pictures which is just great in helping you understand and remember what you read.



7) Repeat phrases. Repeat the phrases you hear during the day by talking to yourself while cooking, under the shower or in front of a mirror a la Robert De Niro in the movie Taxi driver -”You talkin’ to me?”. Make it a habit to learn a new phrase or two a day which you can memorize by repeating again and again.



Remember to use them at any chance you get, even if you are not sure if that is the right phrase for the occasion. You will be corrected by the native speaker you are talking to if you would make a mistake, and that is the whole idea about practicing phrases you learn.


8) Crossword. If you are already at the intermediary level with the new language, don’t stop there. Try to get even better at it by doing Crosswords or any other language puzzles. This would help you to learn new words or new ways of using the words you already know.



9) Borrow Audio books. Borrow books from the local library; ask if you can also borrow the audio version of the book, since most libraries, to help the blind citizens, do have an audio version of most books. This will help you with the correct pronunciation.



10) Develop your own method. Try to develop your own way of learning the new language. Do what you are comfortable with. If you think watching a movie with subtitle in the original language will help you with learning the language do that. If you prefer listening to music in the local language then do that. The ultimate goal is for you to learn the language in the shortest time.



As a final note, a very important rule in learning a new language is that, as much as possible, try not to use any other foreign language you already know to help you in situations where you have difficulties explaining yourself in the local or new language.



Let’s say you have moved to the Netherlands, and as you have correctly discovered almost everybody speaks some degree of English there, which they also love to practice whenever they have the chance. So if you get in a situation where you cannot explain your self properly, don’t shift to English immediately.



Your new Dutch friends would get use to talk to you in English, and they will be less encouraged to help you to learn Dutch, and you will be less inclined to learn Dutch since you already can manage your day with speaking English.



Good Luck




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