When it comes to learning a foreign language, we all know the basic drill - get your grammar right, build a solid vocabulary and practice rigorously. While there is no denying the efficacy of this fundamental blueprint, you can always enhance its productivity by using out-of-the-box learning techniques to get a hang of the grammar of a foreign language. Read on to know more.
Get Your Writing Skills Evaluated
Once you are familiar with the basic grammatical and syntactical rules of a language, start writing a page or two every day. Write about the ongoing news in your country or maintain a personal journal or describe images. Now, post these write-ups on sites like Lang8 or Livemocha and find a native speaker of the language your are learning. Your language partner can now evaluate your performance and provide valuable output, and you can reciprocate. Works out perfectly, doesn't it? Writing will encourage you to make new sentences and learn advanced grammar rules, and you will also become acquainted with your mistakes.
Interact in Online Communities
When you sit down to write something, you still have time to refer to a textbook or check up grammar rules before you pen down a complete sentence. However, when you interact with someone in real time, you will be expected to have a fluid conversation in a foreign language. As scary as it sounds, it is one of the best ways to test your skills and acquire new ones simultaneously. At sites like Busuu, you can find language partners in live chatrooms and strike up a conversation in a foreign language. This is a great way of learning new slang or more informal phrases from someone who is a native speaker of the language you are still learning.
Make a Pen Friend
Always wanted to have a pen pal from a foreign country? Well, this is your chance to do that and perfect your grammar simultaneously. Find a pen friend on one of the many online communities and start writing e-mails regularly. You could talk about your country, your city, or your family and learn about foreign cultures in the bargain. Focus on your grammar and request that your pen friend provide feedback about your language skills. Besides improving your grammar skills, it will also be a fascinating experience, one that will satiate your curiosity about foreign lands.
Do Translation Exercises
While forming sentences in a foreign language, you might unconsciously stay clear of more complicated sentences which involve advanced grammar rules. For instance, someone trying to learn English will find it a little difficult to understand past perfect tense. Similarly, the "pluscaumperfecto" tense in Spanish is pretty tricky for newbies. However, if you don't even try your hand at these, you will never master them. Therefore, translation exercises are important since you will get a wide range of sentences with all kinds of grammar rules. Start by translating children's stories or daily newspaper reports since these are written in simple language. Later on, you can move on to more complicated things like short stories or particulars chapters of a novel. Pick up a famous novel and find its translated edition in your first language. Now, use this as a standard and correspond your translations with this text. This broadens the horizon of your learning experience and enhances your vocabulary as well.
Focus on Your Verbal Skills
Learning theoretical grammar rules is only a small part of the entire process of learning a language. The larger picture involves implementing these rules not just while writing but also while speaking in a foreign language. To speak fluently, the grammar of a language should come naturally to you. To perfect your verbal skills, you can find a language partner through sites like Livemocha.com and chat regularly through Skype. Alternatively, you can also make audio recordings and upload them for evaluation at Rhinospeak.com and other similar sites. Mastering a foreign language is an ongoing process; if you stay committed, you are bound to learn something new everyday!