Getting to feel like a local
So you've been learning a language for a while but still can't seem to start speaking it?
When deciding to learn a new language, many people traditionally turn to group classes as their first resource. They go to their classes once a week, listen to the teacher, and may even do their weekly homework - but for the most part, their language skills remain as passive and unimpressive as they were the first day. Sounds familiar?...
In my language adventures, I've found that in the initial stages of learning a language, group classes (or even private classes with a teacher) do not offer the best value for money or the best use of your time. You can pick up a lot more of the language basics, and do it more efficiently and faster, by tackling a new language solo. And once you've covered the basics, work with a teacher becomes much more productive and rewarding.
Here are some of my favorite tools to start with when you are beginning your language story:
1. Pimsleur courses: An amazing resource that gets you to have basic conversations in less than a week of daily practice. Available in more than 30 languages, these courses engage your memory and make you work on proper pronunciation from day 1. And all that - for about US$ 20 a month (for the most popular languages).
2. Busuu: a great app that builds up your grammar and basic vocabulary step by step and prompts you for the timely repetition of acquired materials at regular intervals.