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Learn a Foreign Language in a Foreign Language

Foreign language books available
(Photo credit: Newton Free Library)

Which language do you use when you are learning a foreign language?
Your answer might be your native language. I bet many people would agree with it since your native language is the language that has grown with you and you know your native language better than other language. However, this fact does not always turn out to be true. Those people who grow up in another country and have been exposed to a foreign language and culture might perform well in both their native and the foreign language.

Knowing more languages indeed give you advantages. It makes you stand out of the crowd. Despite the advantages that you could get from knowing more languages, you need to be able to spare your time to practice the languages in order to maintain or improve your fluency.

What do you do with the languages? Do you watch movies, listen radio, or read books in foreign languages regularly ?

What is the method?
I have been using a new language learning method for few weeks. This method might not be a really brand-new method that nobody has ever used, but at least, it is quite new for me. The method is learning a foreign language in a foreign language. It might be quite tricky and it requires you to have a conversational level of the foreign language that you are going to use to learn another foreign language.

Although English is my first foreign language, I have been using it every day (even more than my native languages) so I regard it as a common language, just like my native languages. Besides, I know Chinese, Spanish, and Esperanto, with different level of fluency.

I am learning Tagalog and French by using this method, means that I am not learning them in English or any of my two native languages. I use Chinese to learn Tagalog and Esperanto to learn French.

How does it work?
It is very simple but as I mentioned earlier, it could be tricky. You need to find a language partner whose foreign language level is sufficient enough to converse.

Suppose that Alicia is your language partner. Her native language is Spanish and she wishes to improve Chinese. She has had conversational level of Chinese but she still does not speak fluently.

Suppose that you speak Chinese quiet fluently although it may not be your native language, and you want to learn Spanish. It could be that Spanish is totally a foreign language for you or you already had the basic.

Then, both of you could agree to help each other by using Chinese in the conversation. Alicia would have the chance to use Chinese to teach Spanish to you, and you would be able to learn Spanish and help Alicia to improve her Chinese fluency.

Keep in mind that both of you should know a common language, such as English, just in case if you are stuck with a word that Alicia could not understand in Chinese and you could not explain in Spanish.


Thanks for reading. Feel free to share this article if you like. If you have any opinions, please leave a comment. I love reading them.
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