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Learning and studying in the library
The Rules of Language Learning
So you’ve decided to embark on the language learning journey, have you? Be prepared, you’ve got a long road ahead of you, but with the right amount of passion and dedication, it will be a worthwhile one. If you’re new to language learning, you may need a few tips on where to start. Have no fear, some rules to live by for language learners is here.

Do Your Research

In order to learn a language, you need to figure out where your learning materials will come from. Materials vary greatly from language to language, so it’s important to do your research. Google online practices, video lessons, and podcasts for your language and check out articles written about that language on this site for more specific recommendations.

There are also sites that are valuable for learners of a variety of languages. 101 Languages gives language basics, including vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation and links to TV, radio, and news sites in that language so you can get practice using real-life material, Digital Dialects hosts online exercises perfect for testing how your language learning has been going, and LRNGO provides platform for language exchange, where you can connect with users in your own backyard or anywhere in the world and learn from one another for free. You can also do some research on personal tutors or classes near you.

Be Committed

Now that you have your resources all in a row, it’s time to start committing your time to your studies. Make a schedule and dedicate a select amount of time each day or every other day to study and practice. Don’t save all of your learning for once or twice a week, as you need consistent practice in order for your learning to stick.

Practice, it Makes Perfect

You can’t get all of you knowledge from a textbook, you have to branch out and use your newfound language abilities in the real world. Use worksheets and online exercises to practice on your own, try following along with podcasts or movies to see how much you comprehend, and find a conversation and writing partner so that you can get human feedback on your progress.

Make Mistakes

As you go through the practicing process, don’t be afraid to mess up now and then, or occasionally, or often. Mistakes happen, and they are an integral part of the learning process. Don’t be embarrassed, you’re learning and if you keep on trying with your best effort, then people will understand. When you make mistakes, you learn, so embrace them instead of cringing at them.

With these tips in mind, you are on your way to the rewarding journey of learning a language. Keep your head up high and remind yourself of why this is important to you, so even through the rough patches, you’ll succeed.

Photo Credit: MC Quin

lrngo users in over 190 countries

Inside Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Russia
Polish Your Russian Language Skills
Learning the Russian language is an exciting, challenging task. If you’ve committed yourself to learning Russian, then you have already completed the first step. Dedication is the number one requirement in language learning, so keep that in mind when the times get rough.

In terms of difficultly for native English speakers, Russian is classified as a Level III language, which is defined by around 780 hours of emmersion study to reach intermediate fluency—but don’t let that discourage you!

Estimates put Russian speakers worldwide at approximately 285 million, only 160 million of whom are native speakers. Do the math and you’ll see that there are hundreds of millions of fluent Russian speakers the world over who have learnt Russian as a second language successfully! With a complex language such as Russian, however, utilizing the help of Russian tutors can prove a deal breaker as to whether or not you will be among those who succeed in learning fluent Russian.

If you’re putting in your time and effort to learn Russian, you want to be sure that you do it right. The only way to really perfect your Russian, or any second language for that matter, is to practice with native or fluent speakers. This means that it is necessary to connect with a Russian speaker to help you strengthen your skills.

Fortunately, there are countless Russian tutors available to assist you on your journey towards Russian fluency! The experience, teaching skills, education level and English proficiency of Russian tutors vary greatly, of course. To make the quickest progress in learning Russian, you will want to find Russian tutors and other options available. Some possibilities are:

  • Joining a language school

  • Signing up for a course at your community college

  • Purchase an online Russian language study program

  • Look for Russian tutors in your local classifieds, directory listing and rating website, magazines or newspapers, or Craigslist and choose one that fits your personal preferences and budget.

As you probably know, you can connect with a language exchange partner at LRNGO and get the benefits of a tutor for no monetary fee, just your ability to teach your partner something new!

Once you are on the road to Russian fluency, be consistent. You will lose the ground you’ve gained if your studies stop and pick back up too often, so make a consistent schedule with your tutor so that you are encouraged to practice frequently. Having a regular class at a set time will keep your momentum going and give you the quickest possible forward progress. Just remember to stay dedicated, and you will see progress and eventually polish your Russian!

Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis

lrngo users in over 190 countries

Pok-a-tok field in Mexico
Learning Spanish Pays Off
You may not have always had the motivation to learn Spanish, but maybe after you realize the benefits of knowing this language, you’ll rethink your position.

It is safe to say that most of us want to earn more money. With the state of the economy these days, we all have to learn to adapt to a new playing field, and that sometimes means stepping out of our comfort zone and acquiring new skills. A change that has swept over the work environment is the need to “work smarter.” Companies favor employees who can wear more than one hat. An employee that saves the company from having to hire an additional person to fill a specific skill is seen as an asset by employers.

Speaking a second language is an awesome way to enhance your resume. With the Hispanic population in the United States rising, it’s no wonder that this is the second language of choice for many. Not only do you have your experience that directly relates back to the job description to back you up, but you also have the valuable skills of being able to bridge communication. You can learn Spanish and instantly have access to more work choices, and be more qualified for jobs you already have access to. Bilingual employees are important to companies these days, so those who take the initiative to learn Spanish, or another foreign language, significantly widen their playing field.

If you invest your time to learn Spanish you also become more eligible to work abroad. Many companies have branches of their businesses in Latin America needing skilled employees who are able to communicate with non-English speakers at those branches.

In the end, it never hurts to have another language on your résumé. Even if there is not a direct connection between a company and speaking Spanish, knowing that they have a team member who could handle a situation in which Spanish is necessary when it arises is a comfort, and companies are more willing to hire a multilingual applicant with the same qualifications as an applicant who only speaks a singular language.

If you want to learn Spanish, there are several ways you can proceed. Of course, you can enroll in a class, hire a tutor, or connect with a language exchange partner through LRNGO. Interacting with a native speaker in any capacity can be effective for quick progress, and is highly recommended to get the full results of learning the language. Another way to learn Spanish is through an online or interactive computer course. These well-developed courses make it easy for you to progress at your own pace, though they often come with a price tag, so be sure to do a trial round and see if the program is right for you before you invest.

Learning a second language takes discipline and commitment, but it is very rewarding for those who persevere, and can widen your job opportunities significantly, so get started, and see what knowing Spanish can do for you.

Photo Credit: Sebastien Paquet

lrngo users in over 190 countries

Exchanging texts on a cell phone
Language Exchange for Beginning Language Speakers
So you have heard of a language exchange, and you want to be a part of one, but you know next to nothing about the language you want to learn. This presents an interesting dilemma. To make this clearer, let’s consider a concrete example. You are interested in learning Spanish and you know English. You find someone else who is interested in learning English and knows Spanish. You contact each other, but you quickly realize that there is a problem: neither of you know the language that you are trying to learn, so you can barely communicate. In other words, you realize that the language exchange would progress at a painfully slow pace. What can you do? There are a number of options.

  • The simplest way to do a language exchange when you are a beginning language speaker is to limit your language exchange to text messages, emails, or other forms of non-facial correspondence. The benefits of this this type of exchange, of having a kind of language exchange “pen-pal”, are potentially enormous. For one, communicating via email or text messages allows you to spend as much time as you need constructing the sentences that you want to send back and forth. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, communicating in this way will help keep you motivated during those difficult first months where you are struggling to string together your first complete sentences.

  • You can also have a language exchange with someone with whom you share an intermediate language. What do I mean by that? In the example already given, let’s say that you also know French. If you know next to nothing about Spanish, I would highly recommend trying find someone who also knows French and who wants to learn Spanish. French therefore can serve as your intermediate language, a crutch that both you and your partner can use to communicate as you both get a hold of basic words and concepts.

  • Language exchanges do not have to be between just two people. If you include a third or fourth person in your language exchange, everyone can work through your basic language difficulties together. Once your group begins to have a better mastery of the basics of the languages, you can split into smaller groups, but tackling the problem with many people together can help you get over that initial hump much easier.

  • If you are using, it is important to remember that you do not have to do a pure language exchange. Let’s consider another example. Again, let’s say you are interested in learning Spanish. In order to get around the language barrier, do a so-called “learning exchange” with someone who is interested in learning some another skill that you can teach and who is also bilingual. For example, let’s say you are an incredibly passionate gardener. Find someone who is bilingual on and who is also interested in learning how to garden in exchange for teaching you Spanish. Since the person in question is bilingual, he or she can give you preliminary instructions in English as needed. Similar to the idea of “intermediate languages” already discussed, you can use English to communicate as a crutch until you have learned the basics of Spanish.

Photo Credit: Melina Sampaio Manfrinatti

lrngo users in over 190 countries

Latin writing on the wall
The Importance of Learning Latin
Why learn Latin in this day and age? Isn’t it a practically dead language? Despite these common questions, learning Latin is truly a rewarding experience for those who have taken up the challenge to learn it.

Latin is more then an ancient language—it is widely used in the fields of law, medicine, science, technology, philosophy and poetry. Several languages trace their roots to Latin, including English, French and Italian. Because of this, understanding Latin has been crucial to countless historical findings, and is invaluable to the aspiring scholar.

Of course, one of the biggest advantages to learning Latin is the foundation that it provides in learning other languages. Do you know or have you ever met someone who seems to have a strong command of many different languages? Chances are that this person knows at least some of the key languages that give him or her the basis for the others. The “common denominator,” if you will. The advantage knowing that common denominator can bring, particularly in understanding European-based languages, cannot be overstated or undervalued. In fact, many of these words and syllables of Latin are still in use in one form or another today.

To dissect the English language, an English scholar, linguist or etymologist must learn Latin, for it has had an unparalleled impact on the history of English in its vocabulary, its grammar, and its style.

There are many English words with Latin roots easily recognizable by English speakers, as well as plenty that seem completely unrelated. Regardless, the root and the changes undergone in the language’s words can usually be traced back to Latin. As far as grammar, English can thank Latin for having any at all. Learning Latin is necessary to filling in the historical blanks of the English language.

If you have already decided that learning Latin is the right path for you, start collecting resources to use in your studies. Take a look at the options available for online programs, group lessons at a school, a private tutor, etc. by browsing classified listings, phone directories or websites. As you probably know, LRNGO offers a language exchange search platform so that you could even connect with an exchange partner instead of hiring someone to guide you.

The pupils of the classical Latin language have made an educated decision. From history to vocabulary, science to the arts, the Latin language has left a great impression on the world, shaping it to be as we know it today. Latin students continue this tradition, and have the ability to look at the world in a whole new way by understanding its past.

Photo Credit: rabiem22

lrngo users in over 190 countries

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