Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Fearless Fellow Polyglot Ex-pat Gives Tips on Learning a Foreign Language

When it comes to foreign language learning, be it English or any one of the other 6912 spoken languages in the world, we could all use any help we can get. I invited several native English speakers now living and working abroad; to share their tips and experiences in picking up a foreign lingo once you’ve been planted on foreign soil. Here are some segments from their extensive comments excerpted from my e-book, “You CAN Learn a Foreign Language: Tested Techniques Anyone Can Use to Learn ANY Foreign Language”.

Meet Lindsay Clanfield

Canadian Lindsay Clanfield now residing in the south of Spain says, “I speak English, French, Spanish and now a little German.”

“When I was learning Spanish, one of the most useful things that helped me gain fluency was learning "little" words that helped fill pauses or give me time to think while sounding more Spanish. In Mexico, these were words like "este" and "pues" which could conveniently be stretched out too ("pueeeeesss"). In Spain I've used "bueno" quite a lot."

"I've since learned that these words are called discourse markers.”

He clarifies the term discourse markers by adding, “In English, I suppose the most useful discourse marker is "OK", but things like "right" and "well" can also perform a similar function.”

Lindsay also believes that “…one of the successes of learning a foreign language is patience and letting go of perfectionism. My advances in language have been largely due to practice without panicking if everything I was saying was 100% correct or not.”

He notes that “correction, delivered in the right way and at the right time”, is definitely helpful, but cautions, “I don't think I would have progressed as much as I have if I made a point of not communicating unless I thought it was perfect.”

Key Point: Don’t worry about being “perfect”, improvement comes with practice not perfectionism.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, by sending an e-mail with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail:

No comments: