You know it’s true. Everyone has told you. You have to spend as much time as possible listening to a foreign language. But how?
* Co-Workers – Friends – Family
If you are fortunate enough to have people around you who speak the language, spend as much time as you can with them. Be forewarned, though. Daily conversation with friends and relatives will probably be filled with idioms and grammar that would make your foreign language teacher nauseous.
* Internet Broadcasting
There are many free internet radio stations. They broadcast day and night, 7 days a week. All you have to do is find them. Try internet searches like the following in your favorite search engine:
– free internet radio German
– free internet radio Norwegian
– free internet radio French
– internet radio stations Spanish
– internet radio stations Portuguese
Disc jockeys and talk show hosts may not use perfect grammar. However, news broadcasts are usually correct.
* Books on Tape or CD
You can purchase audio books online at sites like Amazon.
Unfortunately, not all audio books are created equal. Sometimes the narration is cluttered with distracting loud sound effects and music. The volume may vary from horrendously loud to whisper-soft. If you can listen to a sample before purchase, do so. Never purchase more than one audio book from the same publisher or narrator until you are sure that they produce acceptable recordings. Sometimes the narrator’s volume will vary so much during a reading that it makes the book almost useless.
Be on the lookout for audio bundles that include a printed copy of the book – excellent for learning purposes!
* TV Channels
Check your cable or satellite TV lineup. You may find one or more channels in the language you are trying to learn.
* Movies and Television Series on DVD
Most larger centers and internet sites like Amazon have foreign language productions with English sound tracks and subtitles. Try to watch everything at least once without subtitles. Pay attention to the lips of the speakers as they pronounce words. Lipreading is part of the language learning process.
If you prefer to buy English productions that have been remastered for foreign language markets, you will lose the lipreading advantage – and you may have to purchase or hack a DVD player so that it will play DVDs from other regions. There is a link at the bottom of this article that goes to a page with more specific information.
North American TV series like M*A*S*H and Golden Girls have 1/2-hour episodes. Omit the intro and closing credits and you are left with about 20 minutes of material. Try to learn a few new words of vocabulary each time you watch an episode.
* What are You Waiting For?
Take advantage of all the opportunities that technology has to offer!