People learn a second language for various reasons. Some believe it can give them a competitive edge in the jobs market, whilst others do it to make acquaintances with foreigners or to build new business prospects abroad. Whatever your reasons you have come to the right place to learn more about your options. This is a resource page aimed at firstly giving you accurate information on studying for a foreign language and secondly making it easier for you to find the universities or colleges that provide the high quality language training solutions you are looking for.
Many people living in London would like to learn a foreign language but because of work or social commitments they just don’t have the time. For anyone in this predicament a possible solution is to enrol on a night class. They require less time and commitment, are set to the same standards as full time courses and have the added benefit of being considerable cheaper than day courses. It is for these and other reasons that short evening language courses are becoming increasingly popular with people living in the capital.
Tips on learning a foreign language
Mastering a foreign language takes time and dedication, to keep yourself motivated have a clear idea of why you are studying and what you expect to achieve by doing so.
Some people have a natural talent for learning languages and can easily pick up foreign phrases and terms (we’ve all heard of someone who can speak a dozen languages fluently). However others can struggle to put together a simple sentence and can forget what they learnt pretty quickly. Apart from personal ability you should also remember that some languages are just simply much harder to learn and speak than others.
Set yourself realistic guidelines, remember you're not going to become a expert in a week.
Practise at every opportunity you get.
If at all possible try to have conversations with ‘native’ speakers of the language.
Write ‘flash cards’ and keep them with you during the day. When you have a spare moment look at them and go over the words, this is a excellent way to utilise any free time you have i.e. when on your lunch break or travelling on a bus etc.
For the major languages there is a wealth of free online resources that can help you to study. These are useful for when you have spare moments ate work or home where you can log on and practice speaking.
Develop a routine and try to learn a set number of words every day.
Focus on the pronunciation of a language and concentrate on how it is spoken.
Learn the vocabulary and meaning of words.
Become familiar with the grammar as this will help you to construct your own phrases and sentences.
Languages that are closely related to your mother tongue are much easier to pick up. For instance a English speaker will find it much easier to learn German or French than say Chinese or Japanese.
The most popular language to learn
Below are all rough figures only and do not include people who can speak them as a second language.
In Europe the most popular foreign languages to learn are
The most popular Asian languages to learn are
The most widely spoken languages in the world are (by number of first language speakers)
Mandarin Chinese: 1.05 billion
English: 508 million
Hindi: 487 million
Spanish: 417 million
Russian: 277 million
Arabic: 221 million
Bengali: 211 million
Portuguese: 191 million
French: 128 million
German: 128 million
Learning a foreign language for career advancement
If you want to use a new language to get a well paid job then you should focus on high demand languages that employers or international organisations are looking for. Don’t just pick a language at random, instead be very clear about what you want and why.
Questions to ask regarding evening language courses
When does the next course start?
How do I enrol on a course?
What will I learn on a course?
What is the total cost of the course?
Are there any hidden fees?
Upon successful completion of the course will i receive a qualification or a certificate?
How much homework will be involved?
Where are the classes held?
What happens if I miss a class?
Are parking facilities provided for students and can I park my car there?
How close is the underground station or bus stop to your campus?
What is the maximum number of students allowed in a class?
Will I get a copy of any study material (i.e. CD, audio tapes) used in the class.
Will I get a refund if I have to drop out of the course midway or find that it is unsuitable for me?
Can you give me a profile of the type of students on your language courses i.e. their age and nationality etc?
Do I need any prior knowledge of the language I want to learn?
Will I need to purchase any training material or books for the course or will the university / college provide them?
Which body has accredited your courses?
As a part time student will I have full access to the universities / colleges facilities, like full time students?
Is there any financial help available for students i.e. with course fees, travel expenses or study material?
The benefits of learning a foreign language
Foreign trips abroad are greatly enhanced if you can speak some of the local language.
In a age of increasing globalisation being multilingual can impress potential employers and thereby increase your career prospects.
If you move abroad with the intention of living there then being able to speak the local lingo can help you integrate better. It can demonstrate a interest and commitment to the country you are living in.
More able to make friends in foreign countries.
The advantages of an evening course
They are a great way to spend your free time exploring a new or favourite subject.
Interesting facts about foreign languages
One survey showed that the most multilingual EU citizens are from Luxemburg, where a whopping 99% said they knew a foreign language.
In the United States, Spanish is the most popular second language to learn.