Monday, February 2, 2009
Last week I was sitting in one of our meetings where we talk with people who have lived overseas for less than a year. It is a time for refreshment as well as some training opportunities.
Being a language student myself (notice I did not say a good one) I went to one of the seminars where a linguistic coordinator for our organization spoke. I had heard this some time back when we moved to Spain in 2001 and while I was learning Spanish. Now that I am learning German it was a great reminder and it really is transferable to a lot of things that we learn.
I also know that many people in the states are now trying to learn a second language.
Consider this about Europeans
26% of Europeans speak three languages or more.
53% of Europeans speak 2 languages
71% of all Europeans believe that one should speak atleast two languages
72% of Europeans believe that other languages are useful and important
93% believe that children should learn other languages.
GLUE helps me in language learning. I hope it can help you if you are learning a new language.
It helped me in just writing some things down for my own goals. I am definitely not the expert in language learning.
Get what you need
Learn what you get
Use what you learn
Evaluate what you learn
So as I am learning language I determine what I need and find ways to get it: ability to greet, order food at a restaurant, banking, talking on the telephone, reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, conversations about everyday stuff, conversation about heartfelt topics
I then try to learn these things by learning vocabulary and grammar. I love making notecards and i have been known to write post it notes on our furniture to label the pieces. I prefer using a language teacher or being in a class and then augmenting that with extra reading and listening excerises. For instance today my language teacher gave me a book to read that is German and English with a listening CD. I can use various mediums to pick up the German in this children’s book. I have used Berlitz and Rosetta Stone before and really like those resources. You can also get a lot of language by watching and listening to television or music in that language.
I then go on the street and try it out. I talk to anyone who may talk to me. I try to ask questions and try to get people to ask me questions. I have not done this so far here but in Spain I would have intercambios where I would ask for someone to speak to me for 30 minutes in Spanish in exchange for me speaking 30 minutes of English. I have also done this at Mexican restaurants in the states where I can practice my Spanish. So if you are trying to learn a language while living in the states (I highly recommend that) then with a little work you can find language partners in the states. Many times these people would love a chance to improve their English. Not to mention the obvious opportunities for ministry.
Then you need to evaluate what you are learning. Obvisously if you are taking formal classes tests or quizzes help you do this. You can also ask a native speaker how you are doing. You can find some online resources that will help measure your success in learning a language.
Good luck on your journey of language learning. It is well worth the effort.