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Learning To Speak A Foreign Language - Articles Surfing
When travelling to foreign lands, it is very important to try and communicate with the locals on their own level as much as possible. This is especially important for extended vacations and off- the- beaten- track adventure travels because these situations often require the learning of the local language to get around. It requires lots of effort on the travellers part to learn, practice, and use a foreign language, but the rewards are always worth the extra work. Speaking the local language goes far in removing prejudices and misconceptions that people may have about the tourists and travellers who visit their countries. It shows a sensitivity and exploration of their culture and endears travellers to the locals in ways that a brash "does anyone speak English around here?" will never accomplish. It opens up opportunities for authentic interaction with the locals, shopping in local bazaars and markets, and the possibility of staying with local families and helping thier communities.
Often, speaking or attempting to speak the local language will even get you a cheaper price on your lodging or market purchases! (my past experiences in Bali have attested to this numerous times!) The local shopkeeper will be far less likely to try to blatantly rip you off if he knows that you can speak the language. This is because of many reasons: he knows you may have heard the price given to a local before he helped with your purchase, he respects your desire to learn and the effort you have made to understand his world, and he understands that you may have been around a while in the country and may know what things are worth! Unfortunately, realizing that speaking the local language is a good thing is the easy part; the hard part is actually learning that language!
When trying to learn a foreign language, there are many ways to practice and learn. One important thing to remember is to always practice what you have learned! This is much easier when learning a language while living in the country where it is spoken, but there are numerous ways to practice speaking any language. In bigger US cities, there are often cultural groups or student groups that meet and share their native customs and language. There are books on tape that allow you to hear the language while you are reading the book, which helps to learn proper pronunciation. There are online forums in every language imaginable that will allow you to see how people are using the language.
There are also community and college classes that are often available to everyone for the purpose of learning a language. Purchasing an online interactive language resourse kit is also a great idea- these often have interactive games and lessons that force you to apply what you have learned over and over. Perhaps my favorite way of learning to speak a foreign language is to frequent restaurants that feature the cuisine of the country you plan to visit. The local Thai or Indian cafe is probably your best resource for speaking those languages, and they certainly wont mind trading some language instruction for your increased patronage of their establishment!
Far and away the best way to learn a language is to just buy a plane ticket, get a pocket dictionary, and visit another country. My first international trip to Indonesia lasted about six weeks, which was more than enough time for me to become relatively profficient in this very easy to learn language. Of course, six weeks is a long vacation, and Indonesian is exceptionally easy to speak, but this introduction to foreign languages has helped me gain confidence in my language learning abilities and develop the language learning portion of my brain. Believe me- this brain center is like a muscle. If it is exercised with learning new language and vocabulary often, it becomes very powerful at doing its appointed task.
However you decide to learn a foreign language, it is well worth the effort. Whatever your future travel plans may be, please invest the effort required to learn some understanding of the local language. Your travel experiences will be rewarded tenfold whatever effort it took to learn, and the locals view of you as a tourist will be enhanced greatly. This makes the world a better place for you and everyone else who loves to travel around the world!
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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