Writing Your Way to Fluency

October 24th, 2013 | Posted by ross in tips | Writing - (0 Comments)

Guest Post by Allison VanNest, Grammarly.com

WriteOnNaNoWriMo

Even if your goal is just to be conversant in a new language, don’t neglect reading and writing in favor of speaking and listening. These four aspects of language acquisition all work together to forge new pathways in your brain. Incorporate daily writing practice into your routine to learn faster. Here’s how:

Be Social. Find a writing buddy who speaks the language you are learning, and offer to trade writing samples. italki’s notebook feature allows you to post short pieces of writing for correction by a community of native speakers. It’s a social way of learning that helps you develop your language skills at your own pace.

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This post originally appeared on Raising Arrows – a personal blog site run by Amy Roberts. Reposted with her permission.

Foreign-Language

My oldest daughter, Meg, loves languages. She is taking formal Spanish via a computer program plus teaching herself bits and pieces of several other languages. She’s a quick study; however, she has told me on multiple occasions that she really needs someone to speak the languages with her because the computer lacks the interaction and feedback of a live person.

So, when I learned about italki.com, an online foreign language instruction site that provides teacher/student interaction via Skype sessions, I was hopeful this might be the answer to her dilemma.

Answer would be an understatement.

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goal_setting

One of the reasons why we hold the italki Language Challenge is we believe in Goal Setting for language learning. Setting a goal helps you focus and allocate your time and resources efficiently, and can keep you motivated when you feel like giving up.

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We love to hear how our italki users are overcoming the challenges of learning languages, and Nicole Ballivian has quite a story to share with us.

Read on to learn about Nicole and her language learning experiences.

Nicole in Hebron

Nicole and an actor in Hebron

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From time to time I feel a great temptation to share my own learning and teaching experiences with other people. The way we learn something is critically important to the final outcome.

How do we learn languages? Normally, we memorize some basic words and phrases, then we learn some grammar rules and try to compose phrases using wrong words and making predictable mistakes since the interference from the native language is so strong. Why is it that after years of studies many still fail speaking fluently? Do they fail because they are stupid and lazy? Definitely not. At the very beginning of our lives we learnt our native languages perfectly well, so we are capable of learning languages. Probably, the way we acquire a new language is not the most efficient. Most likely, it is quite inefficient. We didn’t learn the native language as a sum of vocabulary and grammar rules. We never thought about the grammar at all, and yet we succeeded.

baby-photoPhoto source: Nina (more…)