Learning a foreign language is an enriching undertaking. To make the most of your experience, you may need to develop some specialized strategies. Here are some principles to keep in mind.

1. Language is more than a set of grammar rules. Although structural accuracy is an important component of communication, you must also learn how to communicate in a manner that is appropriate to the situation. Likewise, in addition to building a large vocabulary, you will also need to learn ways of paraphrasing so that you will be able to communicate effectively when you don’t know an expression or it has slipped your mind. Body language and gestures are also important communicative strategies.

2. Active language use is far more important than talking about language. The ability to recite the rules of English grammar does not guarantee that you will actually be able to communicate in the language. Spend your time communicating in the language, creating messages, obtaining information, listening for details and so on.

3. Don’t be afraid of making errors. Errors are a natural part of the language learning process and no one can avoid them. Do not let fear of making an error prevent you from communicating. Even if your language ability is not perfect, your message may be understood. Of course, accurate use of language is an appropriate goal of language study.

4. Language learning is a long-time process. Therefore you must have realistic expectations of your performance after one semester, one year, or several years of language learning. Advanced proficiency is often best achieved after long period of practice and residence in a country where the target language is spoken.

5. Be an active language learner. Study models, look for patterns, and make informed guesses, study idioms. If you do not entirely understand a passage, do not ask for a translation immediately. Make use of the language you already know or words that may be related to other words you know. Although language learning can be hard work, your efforts will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of yourself and the global village of which you are a citizen.