How to learn a language
How to learn a language

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How to learn a language

2.2 Resources: designed for native speakers

Watch this next video about resources not primarily designed for language learning.

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FERNANDO:As well as resources designed for language learners, there are many materials available that have been designed primarily for native speakers of the language but can be very useful to language learners. Learners at beginner level can try these types of resource and find them useful, although they're usually beyond the scope of the language they know at beginner stage. These types of resource are usually better suited for intermediate and more proficient learners, who may find it's a way of practicing the language they know and expand it outside or after formal tuition.
Texts in the target language are relatively easy to find for most languages. These include newspapers, blogs, and content on just about any subject in the shape of magazines, books, comic books, e-books, or websites. Similarly, there is a wealth of audiovisual material available to language learners. Music, television programmes, and films can be obtained from shops and libraries or streamed and rented from a variety of distributors.
Watching a film in your target language with subtitles in your own language will help you to get used to the sounds of the language without compromising your understanding. They're also an excellent way to learn about the culture and habits of the target language areas they're set in. You may wish to watch them again with subtitles in the target language, as you already know the plot and can focus more on the language. The subtitles often help you to hear better, as you can read the words as the dialogue is being spoken.
Radio and music are a way of enjoying the sounds of the language. You can have them on and just let the sounds wash over you without focusing on understanding what is being said. There are many podcasts available in different languages from radio and TV stations, as well as organisations and individuals, which you can download and listen to as a focused activity, or simply as you commute, exercise, or carry out chores. You can also find a large amount of material on video and streaming services such as YouTube or Vimeo.
You can also practise your writing by commenting or leaving reviews on those sites that offer that possibility. Whether you comment on a picture on Instagram or Flickr using a word or two, leave a review of a book or film on an online store, or add your thoughts to the comments section of an online newspaper article, your views will be of interest to many, as they will provide a different perspective to those left by native speakers.
A way of practicing your speaking skills is to produce your own content for sites such as YouTube or podcast aggregators. Although this may seem scary at first, the more advanced language learners will find this a way of interacting with target-language speakers. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter will allow you to produce short texts or media and interact with people all over the world.
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A very useful aspect of these types of resources is that they can cater to all tastes and help you personalise your learning. Looking for equivalents in your target language of the type of material you like to read, watch or listen to in your own language will mean that you can expand your vocabulary and knowledge of your favourite subjects and improve your language in those areas at the same time. Whether you like current affairs, comic-books, style magazines, history, cinema: all these and many more are catered for.

Check nearby or online bookshops for materials available. If you are a member of a steaming or rental film provider, check whether they carry films and TV programmes in the language you are learning.

Laura says:

I like to watch programmes with subtitles in the target language, or turn them off completely, depending on how I feel. I also sometimes change the audio to watch English-language shows with Spanish dubbing.


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