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Getting comfortable in a foreign language

Belen, Amazon
Belen, Amazon
Karin Zahn's photos

Getting comfortable in a foreign language

How much do you need to know before you start to feel a bit comfortable in the foreign language you are studying? In other words, what specific things do you have to be able to say?

It can come as a bit of a shock to someone who has worked hard at learning another language only to find him/herself in a situation where he/she can use the language, but, although he/she can express him/herself well enough in the language gets extremely frustrated because of failure to understand what the foreign speaker is saying. It takes a lot of experience to get comfortable with that.

So, first of all there is a long list of verbs and nouns you have to learn to get by in the language. The first two verbs will be the verbs, ‘to be’ and ‘to have’. You will use them to death! So how do you decide on which verbs and nouns to concentrate on? Go through a typical day of your own life and ponder all the verbs you use and identify the nouns that you use with them. Go step by step. They won’t all be in any particular course of study.

Start by how you say, ‘I get up at 8, or whatever o’clock in the morning; I eat such and such, I shower, brush my teeth and get dressed, kiss my spouse goodbye, etc. Name every object in your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, etc. What are all the verbs connected with them? Most foreign language course only cover a fraction of them.

Learn all the tenses of the verbs. If you are lacking in grammatical knowledge rectify that! There are things that most languages have in common regarding verbs, and there are other things that they don’t have in common. After you do this for a while you will notice that some verbs are generally used in all sorts of tenses but others are.
You don’t have a bilingual dictionary? Get real! This writer has more than thirty that he refers to every day.

The next article will explain functions of the various aspects of verbs. Most of this should be a review of what you were supposed to have learned in grade school.