How To Gain Fluency In Another Language Using The Internet

Written by Mark Arnold
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In today's increasingly interconnected world, knowledge of more than one language is quickly becoming a necessary and crucial skill for the workplace. Like having a post-secondary qualification, language skills can set you above the competition, and even send you abroad.

The educational system has long recognized the importance of bilingualism by including mandatory foreign language modules in primary curriculum. While such encouragement must be commended for providing students with an introduction to, and basic knowledge of, a second language, it does not provide them with sufficient opportunity to become fluent.

To gain fluency in another language, many people will tell you the only solution is to travel to a foreign country and immerse yourself completely. This advice may be greatly appealing for those who dream of relocating abroad (and frankly, who doesn't during the winter season?). But for the majority of people, this solution is both inconvenient and costly.

Thankfully, technology has brought us new and exciting options for communicating in another language. This article will highlight just a few examples for how the internet can help students and parents learn a new language online.

To expand your vocabulary, try reading free articles and eventually books in another language. To begin with, reading may be a slow and frustrating process as you will have to stop to look-up the meaning for many unfamiliar words. Before you begin, find an online dictionary that will offer you quick translations.

Hearing a language is key to learning how to speak it. In Mandarin, for example, meaning is dependent on tone and emphasis. Popular music downloading sites currently offer free podcasts and radio programs that you can download in your chosen languages and take with you wherever you go.

Finally, and most importantly, one must actually practice speaking the language. Traditionally, the weakness of online learning has been the lack of human interaction. Fluency is often measured by ones' level of conversation and, until recently, the internet has provided no means to either converse or be critiqued. Today, those serious about transitioning from having a basic knowledge to becoming fluent ought to consider a new way of learning language: online coaching. For a reasonable fee, it is now possible to hire your own personal coach who will improve your skill by engaging you in conversation. Hiring a coach has the benefit of allowing you to set your own goals and choose the subject matter. Moreover, a coach will be able to correct your pronunciation, offer you feedback, and be available when it is most convenient for you.


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