Where NOT to Practise Your New Language

If you go abroad to study a foreign language then you are in for an exciting time. Living in a different culture while you study is sure to be one of the most fascinating things you ever do. Generally speaking, every opportunity you get to practise should be taken advantage of. However, there are a few places where you might like to avoid using your new language too much.

In the Karaoke

One of the most embarrassing nights of my life happened in a Spanish language karaoke. You see, I thought I knew the words to La Bamba. Actually, I knew a reasonable percentage of them but I forgot about a couple of important factors. Firstly, you need to be able to keep up with the playback machine, which isn’t easy if you need to spend a few seconds thinking about the lyrics which are coming up. Secondly, I can’t sing to save myself in any language known to man. Karaokes are actually pretty good places to learn a few new words if you read the on- screen lyrics while someone else does the singing.

In a Loud Disco

Another regrettable incident happened when I tried to talk to a group of new friends in a really loud disco. I realised that a thumping salsa track in the background wasn’t making it easy but I reckoned that I was doing ok. At least, I thought I was doing ok until they called me Richard and started asking me what Germany was like to live in. They had completely misunderstood just about every word I had said and I have to assume that the loud tropical music had caused me to understand what they had said as well. Sitting round a few drinks in a quiet bar is a fantastic way to get to know some locals but if the volume gets pumped up I would suggest moving onto sign language and saving the chat for later.

In a Cold Place

Another place you might regret practising the tongue you are learning is somewhere really cold. I did this as well and even I couldn’t understand what I was saying. The cold weather tends to make your mouth more difficult to control and leads to unfamiliar words coming out in a strange kind of way. If you want to practise with someone and it is too cold outside then try inviting them into a café or a restaurant to drink something hot and get your mouth back under control again.

One of the best things about learning a foreign language is that you can do it just about anywhere. Find some places you are comfortable speaking in and you will have a great time while learning.