Whenever I meet people and they find out about my language learning, I am often asked how I go about learning a language. My answer to that is, “it depends on the language”. I have never been one for refusing any method, well except for subliminal learning… 😉
It’s always good to try out new things, even if just to keep life interesting.
On that note, I have enrolled into a Turkish course. I have now done three weeks of the language on the course and I love it. There are pros and cons to learning a language on a course.
The main reasons for and against language courses:
PROS – you get:
- lots of practice listening as things are repeated a lot
- to hear other people make mistakes and get corrected
- to ask questions of the teacher where things are unclear
- a goal set by a teacher for you to reach at the end of the course
- to meet other people learning the language
- to do homework and have feedback on your progress
- it takes time and effort to attend
- you may get bored/lost if you choose the wrong course
- you may get a bad teacher/teacher you don’t like
- you may not get on well with the other students
- it can be expensive
Fortunately my course is very reasonably priced, the other students and I have a good laugh together and the teacher is a native with lots of patience. I therefore see only benefits from this method of learning Turkish in my case.
Like me, you might be studying a new language in a country you are not originally from. My course is conducted in Turkish for the most part, though my fellow students do ask for translations into Macedonian. That said, the teacher is using less and less Macedonian with us as the course progresses. We are also encouraged to speak only in Turkish.
OK, so what do I do to aid my learning?
- I look ahead in the book at new words and structures, so when I hear them in class I am reminded of them. That way I get the most from the teacher. When you learn something for the first time there are inevitably things that falls through the cracks.
- I create flashcards of the new words I learn to go over them again after class.
- I look up words in my dictionary and have a scan of the words surrounding what I am looking for.
- I watch/listen to Turkish TV every day for about 30 minutes.
- I try to construct phrases in my head all the time. I name everything I can around me or think of a theme, say fruit, and name all the words I know associated with it.
- In class I try to use all of the aspects of vocabulary and grammar we have covered in exercises to play with the language. Making a mistake is part of the learning process and I am happy to do it, especially in class.
- I try to use the language as much as I can. I am lucky because I can speak to some people in town in Turkish, read signs/food labels in Turkish and buy Turkish papers here.
What are my goals?
All students need some sort of goals for learning. It could be a simple goal like learning to introduce yourself, buy something in a shop and order at a restaurant for your holidays. It could be more formal, like taking an exam in the language.
On a course your goals are usually dictated by the teacher, though you can add in your own too. The goal for my course is to pass the A1 exam in Turkish in two months time. We then move on from there to A2 and then B1, which I should sit in May next year.
If I manage to complete those first three levels successfully, I will be very happy.