Multiply touch points

#4 Language learning tips and tools

What do I mean by touch points? Let me put it another way. How many times have you been in touch with the words or concepts that you want to memorize? Have these contacts been varied in their shape and form or always the same old thing?

There are lots of things you can do with a list of words, a conjugated verb or a grammar lesson besides staring at the page and wishing it to go in and be readily useable.

I invite you to use all your senses in the process.

You want to retain a word? Let's hear it. Use an online dictionary such as Larousse, if you press on the loudspeaker icon next to the word, you will hear how the word is pronounced (here is an example with the verb "manger"). And if focusing on single words seems too easy for you, try listening to News in slow French. You can also check the Duolingo podscasts out. These are just two examples, there is plenty of choice out there.

Now say it, just by repeating it on its own with a focus on the pronunciation and then use it in a sentence, say it out loud, repeat it, emphasize it, bring emotions into play. If we go back to my earlier example, the verb "manger", the online dictionary gives you ready made sentences. Pick the ones that you are most likely to use or create your own if you can, rehearse them in front of your mirror or talk to your cat, your dog, your plant, anything or anyone who will not make you self-conscious. Build up your confidence. Own these sentences, they are yours now.

Find occasions to read them in context. If you are learning about food for example, you might want to dive into a recipe book all written in French or whatever other language you are learning. You might also want to take advantage of videos with subtitles. TV5 Monde has a great range for all levels.

Then writing what you want to remember is a good idea, especially if you are the kinesthetic type. Writing will activate a part of your brain that will promote learning. You might want to make notes of a podcast you have listened to or of a video you have watched, do some creative writing and journaling.

Now we have covered listening and reading (passive skills) as well as speaking and writing (active skills). Next pick a time when you are relax and receptive otherwise your time and efforts might go to waste.

You can also find ways to associate you learning to the sense of smell or touch. We can delve deeper into these options another time.

You do not need to spend a long time over it every day, but do it regularly and it will pay off. Make it a habit.

When you want to learn, adopt a multidimensional approach. Less time spent, better results achieved.

Do you want to know more or discuss you language learning needs with me? Get in touch.

Happy learning!

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