How can I speak fluent foreign languages?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your best bet is to go live in a foreign country, sadly.  That's how I learned the foreign language that I speak best.

But you can get pretty good in other ways.  Of course, it helps to take classes to learn the basics. Or you can get the Rosetta Stone software, which I like quite a bit.

Once you learn the basics, to get better, you need to find people that you can talk to in your foreign language.  My second best foreign language is one I have learned in large part by talking with friends.

One other piece of advice.  Don't be embarrassed.  You have to be willing to make mistakes if you're going to speak well.  Like the other day I was talking to a friend and used a word only women are supposed to use...

atyourservice | Student

Practice a lot, also try to find a way to live in a country where the language you are learning is prominent, it is faster to learn when you are in a situation where you are required to learn the language. I was able to speak english within 2 months of coming to the USA and that was only  because I was in situations where understanding english would be needed.

crystaltu001 | Student

Well there are many ways to learn a foreign language. You can take a class for a while and you will eventually learn the language. Another way is that you can download apps to learn that language . Spend a little time everyday learning that language and you will soon be really good at it.

eli468 | Student

There are many different approaches to learning foreign languages. It depends on each person. 

For many people a great way to learn is through taking a class or getting a tutor. However, for me, whenever I have started a new language I prefer to get a lot of vocabulary down and I learn that better independently. So, if a teacher/tutor doesn't work for you, independent study might. Both takes patience and persistence. 

I use different apps and go about other sources for learning. The apps are great for flashcard features to teach me vocabulary and I just put them onto my ipod or tablet so whenever I have a bit of free time or I'm feeling bored I can just pull one of the devices out and practice.

PRACTICE IS A MUST. If you are going to be pursuing a new language you need to practice often. I try to practice every day or every other day. It can be difficult to keep up with this, but it is very helpful as well.

Listen to music in that language and watch TV shows and movies. This can really help you differentiate words and learn pronunciation. I use this method since I am not doing immersion. 

If you can, go live in a place that speaks that language. This is said to be one of the easiest ways to learn a new language.

Try to think in the language as often as you can. I do this a lot and, despite my thoughts turning into a mixture of foreign and English words, it does help me to remember.

One other tip is to try and find someone who speaks that language, even someone online. They can help to correct you with any mistakes you make in writing or speaking.

Wiggin42 | Student

Find a friend to take the language with you. You can practice with each other. Search for immersion programs around your area. These are typically week long to month long camps where participants only speak the foreign language. Find a community of speakers. Native speakers are very approving of foreigners learning their language and will love to help you. 

taangerine | Student

There are many ways to learn a foreign language. 

  1. The most common: Get a tutor or teacher and get lessons. It is the most critical part as it introduces you to the new language and gives you a jump start on being motivated to learn the new language.
  2. Become exposed: Being one with the culture. From watching movies to going to a supermarket, learning about the culture can further stimulate the mind's way to thinking and learning about the language.
  3. Communicate: Communicate with people who are more advanced in the language than you. Although you might not understand the language completely, you can communicate to one who might help you break the language barrier. Think of the person as guide.

In my personal experience, I learned how to speak Vietnamese by going to Viet school. And, they have exposed me to their culture during the holidays such as Tet when the teacher brought in festive foods for us to eat, had us dress up in Ao Dai (a Vietnamese dress), and sing songs.

  • But, if you are a person with little time, perhaps you can listen to some songs! You can pick up a few words and become accustomed to their culture as well! Afterall, music is an universal language.
zumba96 | Student

Well if you do not live in a foreign country you could take lessons this could help. If you aren't in school there are many providers of different foreign languages that could result in you becoming fluent in them. In 8th grade I took Spanish 1 and finished Spanish 3 in 10th grade. It was a great experience and so much fun and you could use other tv channels to focus/practice once you've learned such as univision for me

arrellbelle | Student

Let's start with the basics. It helps if you take classes with a professional teacher who has been speaking the language rather fluently so you're exposed to how it sounds, how to say the words, the grammar, and communicate one on one with your teacher. Also, you cannot just depend on your teacher, learning another language, you'd have to expose yourself to it outside of the classroom by listening to their music or watching their movies and studying online. It's good to also get a pen pal who can write to you and help teach you. If you really wanna speak it at a native level, your best bet is to live abroad in that country because you'll be exposed to it in all its' entirety, forcing you to speak it as much as you can!

etuad | Student

The key point in learning a foreign language is keeping an interest in that particular language. Many times, people lose interest when they find the language challenging. A good way of doing this is by experiencing their culture, perhaps listening to music of the countries using the language, tasting food from the culture, watching videos or even dancing the dances of the region.

In improving the language skills, however, the most important part is practice. In fact, English is my second language. I have moved to the States when I was in 5th grade, and I had to suffer for the first few years with English. What I learned from the experience was that being bold about using the language is the best way I improve. Even if you don't understand the language very well, or speak it fluently, you should always attempt to use it. If you don't understand, ask them to say it once more slowly. Jumping into the language is the best way you can learn to speak fluent foreign language.