Becoming bilingual is on a lot of people’s bucket list. If you’re one of them, there are three keys to becoming successful. Interested? Read on!

  1. You’ll need a friend, family member or teacher to practice speaking with. The main reason to become bilingual is have the pleasure of carrying on a conversation with someone else in another language—the waiter at the bistro, the woman sitting next to you in the subway, the farmer selling produce at the market, the friends at the dinner party, as well as business colleagues at meetings and conferences. But you’ll never achieve real fluency simply by using apps and boxed programs, studying flashcards, or listening to CDs. Becoming fluent in a second language has less to do with your ability to understand than with your ability to converse–in fact, the word “bilingual” means “two tongues.” If you don’t know anyone who can practice conversational skills with you, you’ll need to enroll in a class or arrange for a tutor.

 

  1. Be prepared to dedicate a significant amount of time to achieve your goal. Ask anyone who’s bilingual how long it took to become fluent and the answer may range from “a few years” to “I’m still learning!” Mastering a language is accomplished one word and phrase at a time; it’s a process—one that builds confidence, enjoyment and satisfaction every step of the way. If you’re planning to take a trip soon and just want to learn a few words and phrases to make your time in another country a bit more interesting, you can expect to achieve your goal by spending approximately 10 hours practicing conversational skills. Even then, it’s important that your language partner is a native speaker so that you’ll learn to pronounce foreign words and phrases correctly. Becoming fluent in a second language takes time and practice. But you can be sure that your efforts will yield considerable personal and professional rewards.

 

  1. Like everything else, you get what you pay for. An experienced teacher or tutor will introduce you to vowel sounds, verb tenses, and vocabulary words that are completely different from those in your native language, and they will help you “train your brain” to think differently. Working one-on-one with a trained instructor is the most efficient way of learning—and, of course, you can expect to pay more for private lessons. Many local community colleges and language schools offer classes and tutors. Prices vary as do class sizes and levels of expertise. Do your research before writing that check!

 

  • Now that you understand the fundamentals involved in learning a new language, it’s time to take the next step and find the class that’s right for you. Be Bilingual has been working with adult learners for over 28 years. Our Spanish teachers use Be Bilingual’s copyrighted materials, which include workbooks and audio lessons, to build strong grammar and vocabulary skills. Check out the details on our website www.bebilingual.com  and give us a call at 713-789-6338 or email us at languages@bebilingual.com. We’ll help you reach your language goals in 2018!