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This summer many people wil be heading off to foreign countries to soak up some sun and a little culture. In many of those countries, the natives will speak English because it is such a ubiquitous language. Although this is very useful for us Brits, it doesn't half make us lazy. We lack the impetus to learn another language beyond a smattering of the local lingo such as, 'Deux bieres s'il vous plaît' or 'Dos cervezas por favor' (unless of course you prefer to drink wine).
Instead of expecting others to understand you, or using a complicated mixture of pidgin English in a dodgy accent while gesticulating wildly, why not learn a new language? The satisfaction you get from studying another language is almost on a par with the frustration, but I'd say satisfaction is the overall winner. The learning curve at the start is very high and you can find yourself picking up a lot of basic words and phrases quickly. Unfortunately the hard part is moving onto more complex points of grammar, but by that stage you'll already know enough to impress yourself and your friends, and this should be encouragement enough to stick at it!
The trouble with learning a new language is that it requires a great deal of effort and patience. It doesn't happen overnight. You have to spend at least an hour every day reading, listening and studying. But if you really want it, you will succeed. Of course, the best way to learn quickly is to spend time in the country of your chosen language. So now you have an excuse to book more holidays to France, Spain, Italy or wherever you want. These days there are so many different resources available for learning languages, there's really no excuse not to. You can join lessons, use language CDs, there are online podcasts and tutorials, you can set up language exchanges through the internet and you can use your local library.
Do you want to learn a language or are you already fluent in several? Tell us about your language learning experiences by leaving a comment.