GoLearnTo.com’s linguistic guru Ulrike Reinke offers tips on how to start speaking like a local
Forget language CDs and online learning, you can only really learn a language when you are immersed in the country and the culture, and are forced to speak to the locals.
Staying with a local host forces you to speak the language outside of school time, which helps you to pick it up much faster and get used to the new sounds. You also get to know the culture better, in a friendly, personal environment.
Always choose a language school that offers complete immersion: it is very important that teachers at the school only speak in the language you want to learn, even if you are an absolute beginner. You might feel insecure starting out, but you’ll soon be conversing.
Language courses combined with other courses, such as cooking, are very useful for acquiring new vocabulary, learning more about the country’s culture and generally enriching your language-learning stay.
Groups are almost always huge, guides usually speak in English and you run from one point to another without having time to appreciate what you are visiting. Language-school guides usually speak in the native language and take time to answer individual questions.
In touristy cities, it’s difficult to meet the natives. Ask the language-school staff where you can find the bars, clubs and restaurants that the locals go to.
GoLearnTo.com runs a range of learning trips, from language tuition to jewellery-making, kiteboarding, dancing and more
There are 6,912 living languages; English has the most words (250,000), Khmer has the largest alphabet (74 letters), Botswanan !Xóõ has the most sounds (112)