Friday 21 September 2012

Ten Ways to Stay Fluent in a Second Language

I studied French throughout high school and then majored in the subject in university.  I taught Core French for seven years and then French Immersion for another 11 years.  However, I took a leave of absence for a couple of years and now I feel like I should brush up on my French skills.  Here are ten ways to maintain fluency in a second language.

1.  Listen to international music. 

My Italian teacher (I also studied Italian for a few years) at Westmount Secondary School used to play us Italian songs and we would fill in the missing lyrics on a sheet that he prepared for us.  I remember him showing us "Sanremo", the Italian music awards. 

2.  Watch foreign cinema.

Rent a DVD of a movie by Francois Truffaut, a French director, or Pedro Almodovar, a Spanish director.

3.  Seek international news sources.

Read online newspapers or listen to foreign radio broadcasts.

4.  Read foreign books or magazines.

Start with familiar stories ex. Harry Potter and then work your way up to the more difficult books.  Subscribe to a French magazine ex. L'Actualite (French) or Spiegel (German).

5.  Connect with others in foreign lands.

Websites connect English speakers with foreigners via teleconferencing, chat rooms or message boards.

6.  Join a language club.

Many cities have language clubs which hold conversation circles.  Visit the website for more information.

7.  Serve as an E.S.L. tutor.

Check out your local library or community agency for tutoring opportunities. 

8.  Explore your neighbourhood.

Visit the local cultural clubs ex. Brantford has the Sonenhoff (German Club) or Rossini Lodge (Italian Club).

9.  See the world.

Travel to countries where your second language is spoken.  As a student, go on a foreign exchange.

10.  Take a refresher course.

Enrol in a high school, college or university course.


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