Have you always wanted to learn a new language but never had the time or don’t know where to start? Ana Bertolossi introduces a new resource designed to support your language learning and shares some quick tips to develop core language skills.
Learning to speak a different language is a highly valued skill. It will help you to discover new cultures, develop a range of useful communication skills for travelling abroad or using in the workplace, and greatly increase your employability prospects.
However, language learning is a big commitment and requires lots of practice and determination.
The Skills Centre’s University-wide language courses in eight languages, all starting from beginner level, are a great way to start your language journey. There are lots of other tools you can use independently outside the classroom to complement your learning.
New DiY Language Learning resource
DiY Language Learning is a new Moodle resource available to all students. It offers lots of practical advice, tips and tools to boost your motivation and confidence about learning other languages.
Using a mix of digital and non-digital tools, the resource will help you to develop each of the four essential skills of language learning: speaking, writing, listening and reading, in an informal and fun way.
There are also opportunities to share tips and learn from other students who have tried different language learning tools.
The advice and tools are applicable to a wide range of languages and can be used whatever your current level of proficiency.
Quick tips to develop the four essential language skills
Turn on and use subtitles
You might be surprised how effective subtitles can be for developing your listening comprehension when learning a new language.
When you turn subtitles on while watching a video or a programme, you’re using your listening and reading skills simultaneously, which is an effective way to remember pronunciation and spelling. It will also widen your vocabulary by associating words with a context and improve your grammatical knowledge.
Read aloud more often
Regularly practise reading text aloud. This is a really useful way of identifying sounds or accents you’re having trouble with, building your confidence in your pronunciation and helping you to memorise vocabulary better. Reading video subtitles out loud is also good practice.
You can also improve your reading by using language Apps such as Duolingo where you can read aloud and listen to the correct pronunciation for feedback.
Listen and sing to music
Listen to music, follow the lyrics and sing along, even if you have no musical talent!
It’s easy to remember music and you’ll find that the combination of repetition and beats will help you learn words in context in a fun way.
You can also make the most of the speaking practice opportunities available through the Language Café and Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) language sessions.
Set regular time aside for writing
Start with a small sentence or paragraph and move on to a page or two.
Show your writing to someone you trust for feedback so you can correct and learn from your mistakes.
If you haven’t got a native speaker buddy to show your writing to, you can get in touch with us in the Foreign Languages team and we'll try to find you a willing language student to help you out with sentence structure, choice of words and grammar.
What do our students say?
This is what our student Skills Co-Creators said about the DiY Language Learning resource:
“I’ve always wanted to find the time to learn new languages but amongst university deadlines, work, etc, it can quickly become extremely difficult. These resources provide me with the correct tools to incorporate language learning into my schedule.” (Favour Oshidero)
“The DiY Language Learning resource provides great tips to support independent language learning whether you’re a beginner or have some experience. It offers practical tools to aid your learning and the best part is being able to do it in your own time with no pressure!” (Helena Beavis)
You can self-enrol onto the DiY Language Learning Moodle resource. If you've got any feedback about it, we'd love to hear from you!