It is no new news that language is an essential aspect of a person’s life. Communication is key in all types of relationship – be it platonic, romantic or pure business. Mastering a language is, thus, important lest you jeopardise the rapport you have another with low language and communication skills. Compared to the soft skills that make up communication skills – emotional intelligence, empathy and confidence being some of them – language skills are slightly more straightforward and less challenging to foster. That is to say, these skills are not easy either. You will need to put in a significant effort in improving your listening, writing, reading and speaking.
Luckily for you, we’ve come up with a few tips you can incorporate on the daily, to improve on these areas!
This is the first step to establishing your language skills. As a beginner, the first aspect is listening and recognising how the language sounds like. It’ll give you a clue on its characteristics such as intonation, the presence or absence of aspirated sounds or whether it’s stressed-time or mono-timed, for instance.
To improve your listening skills, you will need to pay special attention to what has been said and how it is said. A native teacher is your best option as they will deliberately slow down their pronunciation so that you’d have an easier time catching their words and registering its meaning. Otherwise, you can also listen to music, watch films or talks in that specific language to emulate their good diction.
Arguably one of the harder skills to pick up, speaking is a more active act whereby you’d have to think and respond in the new language within a short period. As a beginner, this is a challenging task as you will need to translate your thoughts from your native tongue to another foreign language. That said, you can improve your speaking skills by simply speaking to your close family members and friends and engage in meaningful voice chats. They don’t exactly need to know the foreign language per se; this exercise just encourages you to be more comfortable thinking and speaking in the foreign language. Furthermore, you can replay and listen to these messages and judge how far you’ve improved!
Reading is another hard skill to pick up, especially if the writing script is vastly different from yours. This would mean you will have to pick up alphabets or characters and not only understand the way it sounds, but also its contextual meaning. You will need to get used to the sentence structure, grammar and vocabulary as you read. You can start slow by reading short stories or articles before moving on to lengthier write-ups. Pick a subject that you’re not bored of, so that you can stay motivated as you learn!
Whilst it may seem like an easy skill to pick up, it truly isn’t. As mentioned prior, languages with a different writing script than the one you’re used to can be a little tricky. For instance, the Korean alphabet looks nothing like the Latin alphabet in the English language. Thus, it’d be one of the first few things you will tackle when you enrol in a Korean language school! Therefore, you can start small by frequently writing in a journal or captioning your social media posts in the foreign language. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it’ll be a breeze!
Those are just a few simple tips you may want to consider applying in your learning. Of course, it’d be best if these tips supplement formal education as that is the most effective approach to learn a foreign language.
Unfortunately, with the recent COVID-19, many businesses have to halt their operations so as to stop the spread of the virus. Not wanting to slow down your progress, we have moved our Korean classes online! You can now still learn whilst keeping yourself safe in the process! Remember to always maintain good personal hygiene and help flatten the curve!