It’s never too late to learn a second language

  • By Ashley Stewart Herald Writer
  • Monday, January 14, 2013 7:00pm
  • Life

It doesn’t take hundreds of dollars to learn a new language.

It might take more time and discipline, but you can do it on your own.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Get motivated

“Personal motivation is the number one factor in terms of success,” said Vidal Martin, Everett Community College Spanish instructor and co-founder of the Northwest Language Center.

“Whether you’re learning a language independently or attending a class, you need to be able to apply some self-discipline and do some work on a daily basis.”

Find a group

Find an online meetup or language exchange.

Martin said the best way to learn a language is in a classroom, but that you can learn through immersion.

Marcella Scott, director of The Spanish Language School (www.thespanishlanguageschool.com/) in Bothell, asks her students to “establish a network of friends that have an interest in the language.”

Language meetups are a good way to do that.

Through meetups, groups of people get together to practice their conversational skills.

Members range in skill levels, and there’s usually someone willing to help you out if you’re behind the rest of the group, Scott said.

You can search for groups by language and city at www.meetup.com.

Language exchange can be another helpful tool.

You can connect with native speakers who want to learn English and exchange lessons.

Websites such as www.conversationexchange.com allow you to connect with native speakers in your city by meeting in person, through Skype or in written correspondence.

Watch, listen and learn

Exposure is essential when learning a new language.

Watch or listen to TV, movies, radio and music in the language you’re trying to learn.

Try watching a movie you already own with a foreign audio option. French and Spanish are usually available with English subtitles.

Or turn on the TV to local foreign language broadcasts. Scott recommends news programs, soap operas and programs for children.

“The advantage of watching something like the news is that it’s information they already know in English, so they can make connections between what they already know and what they’re watching,” Scott said.

Children’s programs use helpful visual aids and soap operas are very expressive, she said.

Local channels KUNS-TV and KCTS V-ME broadcast in Spanish and soap operas for beginning Spanish-speakers are available at most libraries.

If local broadcasts aren’t available in the language you want to learn, go online. You can stream some radio stations, music, video and television programs from other countries for free.

Ashley Stewart: 425-339-3037; astewart@heraldnet.com.

More in Life

Using a rod to assist in running wiring through an attic space, Don Thomas, of R&D Handyman Service, works on installing a ceiling fan at a home in SE Everett on Monday, July 24, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
                                Don Thomas of R&D Handyman Service installs a ceiling fan at a home in southeast Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
When fall chores loom, just hand them to the handyman

Here are three local businesses that can help you prepare your home for the rainy season.

And this year’s winners of Everett’s Monte Cristo Awards are…

The awards recognize local homeowners and businesses that take special care of their properties.

‘Happy Death Day’ applies ‘Groundhog Day’ premise on horror genre

Smart writing and Jessica Rothe’s performance make this worth seeing.

Adventurer 1st to finish Race to Alaska on stand-up paddleboard

Karl Kruger will speak about his trip at the Everett Mountaineers Banquet on Nov. 4 in Lynnwood.

Therapy helped ease debilitating pain after injury

Columnist Jennifer Bardsley shares her experiences with complex regional pain syndrome.

How to prune a hydrangea: An exception to the pruning rule

It helps to think of a growing blackberry vine when you’re about to cut back this blooming shrub.

Visiting Germany’s Lutherland, birthplace of Reformation

The sights include the church where the first Protestant service took place in 1521.

Can you top ‘Hamilton’? Author Ron Chernow is about to find out

The notable writer’s latest book, published Oct. 10, is a lengthy biography on Ulysses S. Grant.

Most Read