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Beginning Language Learners

What to aim for:

You have to start somewhere, and the thing beginning language learners need the most of is vocabulary.  As you do your cultural observations make note of the things and activities you see that you want to learn to understand and talk about.  Beginners need to start with concrete vocabulary – things you can see and perhaps handle.  So take pictures of the people and objects and actions you see around you, and use these in your language lessons.

Caution:  You need to find out if it is appropriate to take photos.  People in some cultures don’t like having their pictures taken, and sometimes it is illegal to take photos of government buildings.  Ask someone with experience whether or not it is appropriate to take photos.  If it is, then use a digital camera and either print out pictures or use them on your computer.

Language Skills

Beginning learners can work on all 5 of the basic language skills, but the emphasis should be first and mostly on listening, then speaking, reading and writing.  Many people want to speak first, but it is even more important to learn to understand what you hear.  Suppose you learn to ask someone directions.  What good does that do if you can’t understand the answer?  Start with listening!

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