All the language skills you need & how to improve them

useful language skills for every language

The four main language skills you need to master to seek proficiency in every language are:

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing

It makes a major difference when learning languages, if you’re at least familiar with the alphabet and don’t have to learn it from scratch. You may be asking which of these 4 language skills is the hardest to master? Well, studies show that most people struggle at first with reading and writing and then, when they begin to increase their language skills, they start to find speaking and listening more challenging.

Get Speaking!

As a beginner, the most important of the language skills to get fluent at a language is to speak it, even if you make mistakes. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all. For most language learners their goal is to get fluent, so it is very satisfying to speak from the start and learn through speaking.

Listen to music to improve your pronunciation

When you listen to songs in a foreign language, you will quickly learn the correct way to pronounce words, as the artist will inevitably be a native speaker.

Try to learn a lot of conventional language before you take the step up to business level

It is easier to start with colloquial language and standard phrases and develop your language skills slowly, than start with business language, where normal conversation may not be possible.

Just try to speak even if there are mistakes

Don’t be scared of speaking the language, just give it a go. Most natives are happy if they can see you practising and often want to help you improve your language skills.

Now listen up!

Listening and understanding the person you’re talking to is the hardest part of learning a language. Particularly when they are influenced by different dialects and different pronunciation from different parts of the country. You will feel really fulfilled when you are able to communicate and understand what somebody is trying to tell you.

Listen to audiobooks or podcasts

In a lot of audiobooks and podcasts they speak very clearly and try to avoid any dialects. They can really help improve your listening skills.

Watch some foreign movies or videos

I’d recommend you watch a series or a few movies in the language you’re trying to learn. By listening it will improve your understanding and you’ll also be able to talk more smoothly.

Try to get one on one conversation in the foreign language

You should use every small encounter to talk and listen carefully to how they speak and how they pronounce different words.

Read everything!

Reading is not as common a problem because nearly every language course starts with reading and writing. In my opinion it should be speaking and listening at the start of a course, not reading. You’ll have ample opportunity to practice your reading skills, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Try to read every street sign

If you want to improve you’re reading skills it will really help you to try and read everything that is in that foreign language.

Read some e-books

E-books are even better for learning a language than normal books because you can note the difficult words and translate them very easily. They’re also available in a wide variety of different levels.

Keep a dictionary or translation app nearby

When you start reading in a foreign language it is important to be able to easily look up new words.

Write it down!

Writing is also not a huge problem for learning a language, because many language courses focus on writing. If you don’t write that often it won’t automatically show that you’re bad at a language; but for your business life the writing skill is a major aspect.

Writing in a business register is like writing in another language altogether

If you’re able to write in a foreign language it doesn’t necessarily mean your good at its business language. If you want to improve that skill, you should focus on it.

Improve your colloquial language by chatting

When you get to know some foreign students try to text them in their native language and that will help you go about your daily life.

Start a diary in the foreign language

If you start to write down your entire daily program, it will help you with your conversation and writing skills.

The importance of speaking and listening in languages is often underestimated in language courses. So it is on you to you improve these two aspects. I’d recommend trying a language course in a foreign country to improve these two skills because you will find a lot of people eager and willing to talk to you.

What’s your opinion? What’s the most difficult part for you? Let us know through our Facebook page or visit our Russian courses webpage to get more insights about Russian Language and any other language.

Philipp Ludat

Posted by Philipp Ludat

Hello! I'm Philipp from Austria, I'll be interning at Liden & Denz in Saint Petersburg until the middle of November. I hope you'll enjoy my blog posts and find useful informations about this stunning city!

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