There has probably never been a better time to learn a foreign language. With so many free language-learning tools available via the Internet, as well as ones you can pay for, the options for studying a language are almost endless. Traditional methods include enrolling in a language class or learning via audio method (such as [...]
There has probably never been a better time to learn a foreign language. With so many free language-learning tools available via the Internet, as well as ones you can pay for, the options for studying a language are almost endless.
Traditional methods include enrolling in a language class or learning via audio method (such as recorded CDs, downloaded audio lessons, MP3s, etc.). Two well-known providers of audio language lessons are Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone offers numerous language options, but, unfortunately, Czech was not one of them. Subsequently, I used Pimsleur, which emphasizes pronunciation before learning how to read/spell correctly in the language. This provided a good start in staying on the correct track to pronounce Czech words correctly, since the written form of this language, like many other languages, may lead English speakers to mispronounce words.
Conversationexchange.com also offered a great place to find others to practice speaking the language. Currently, I am Skyping two persons that I met via this website. Admittedly, my two Czech Skype friends practice English far more often than I speak Czech, since my conversational skills are somewhat limited. One bonus has been developing a long-distance friendship with these two native Czech speakers. Both of my Czech friends enjoy cycling, and I will be staying four days in the home of one and also have the offer of loaned bicycles from both during the Czech stay of my wife and me.
Two popular Internet sources for learning a language are Duolingo.com and Memrise.com. I am currently using the latter service almost daily, as Duolingo does not provide an option for English speakers to learn Czech. The Memrise website has made expanding my oral and written Czech vocabulary fun through its use of multiple choice, audio, and written quizzes, in which points are accumulated; the site also shows a weekly leader board, and you can compare your point totals to those of other top 10 learners.
Another great Internet resource for not only learning a language but also discovering more about the language, culture, and people of a country is 101languages.net. Check it out. You could spend hours on this website, if you have the time. I found a dated, but free, audio/textual course on Czech created by the Foreign Services Institute sometime in between the Czechoslovakian Velvet Revolution and Velvet Divorce. I downloaded the audio lessons and burned them onto CD, which I listen to in my car.
Besides all of the free (and paid) Internet material, you can also easily find and purchase books about your language of interest through sites like Amazon, linguashop.com, omniglot.com, and many others.
The key to learning any foreign language is persistence. If you did not grow up speaking the language or hearing it spoken in your home, it will take time to speak the language fluently. It's important to focus upon the progress you've made rather than how far you are from being fluent. And, when if you do visit the country where your language is spoken, as my wife often reminds me, the native speakers will likely appreciate the effort you have made to communicate in their language.
May you find both joy and success in your efforts to learn one of the world's numerous languages.