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How to Become Fluent in Greek

It is important to learn the native language of any new country when you relocate abroad, but how do you go about doing that? How do you make the first steps in to learning a new language, without feeling as if you have been thrown in at the deep end and are under immense pressure to learn and remember new things. When mastering a new language, there are three things that you need to cover: Vocabulary, grammar and conversation. Once you have

sorted these three things, you are pretty much done when it comes to learning the new lingo. It all seems very difficult at the moment and it is understandable, but learning a new language will benefit you in many aspects of your life. Knowing a second language will: look great on your CV, help you communicate with native speakers of the language, give you more job oppurtunities and will open up a whole new world for you to enjoy by communicating in a new language.

Getting Started
Whether you plan to learn just a few basic words or perhaps you want to become completely fluent in a new language, you must approach the matter in the same way. Sometimes language lessons can help you if you start from scratch, but once you have began to learn the language, signing up for lessons can be difficult. If the teacher doesn't know what stage you are at; this can cause complications and gives you, as the student, the feeling that you are not making any progress. Lessons and tuition can really help some students, whilst others feel that they are more comfortable learning in another way. There are many ways of learning a new language and there are technically no 'right' or 'wrong' ways to do it, it is all about whatever is the best for you. These days, there are more and more self learning materials on the market, so it is possible for you to learn at home too.

First thing's first
Now, some language teachers tell you that you need to study the grammar drills first before learning any vocabulary. However, it is very difficult for a student to grasp the concept of the grammar, if they don't know any vocabulary. Some languages are not like English, as they have different genders, which is hard for new students to understand or use if they do not know any of the language. It is a lot harder to get to grips with a new language if you spend a long time trying to understand the grammar drills. Some people spend far too long studying grammar and after a long time of hard work, they are confused and still do not know any basic words or phrases. So, what is the alternative? The best way to start learning a new language is to start learning words and phrases. You will see progress a lot quicker when you start learning vocabulary, compared to if you were just studying intense grammar. Invest in a good dictionary that has a rich vocabulary. Once you have found a decent dictionary, study every word that you think you will need. Go through each page and copy out the words that you will need, copy them, look, cover, say and check - you will learn new words and remember them too.

Practice what you know
Once you feel like you want to progress and start learning filling in words and how to make a sentence, you should read childrens books in the language that you are learning. Childrens books are easier to understand and once you know basic words and phrases, you will be able to attempt reading some simple dialogues, text and childrens stories. As you read the childrens books, you should note down any unfamiliar words and look them up in your dictionary. Try to memorise the new words and when you have learnt them, try re-reading the book to see how clear the story is to you. Even in childrens books, there is evidence of grammar and it is worth noticing how the words are structured to make a sentence. Can you see any kind of pattern? If you still can't form any sentences by yourself, it doesn't matter, as you have not yet started to really study the grammar. Once you have read all of these reading materials, you can re-read them to keep practicing any buy some new ones, or see if you can swap them with a friend. The key thing is that you practice what you already know. It is pointless learning a new language if you are not going to use it!

Getting to Grips with Grammar
Once you are at the stage where you need to start learning how to form sentences correctly and understand the dinamics of the language, you must find a book of some kind, that focuses soley on grammar. Some phrase books and language guides cover a little bit of everything, but they never go to deep in to it and therefore isn't always clear or helpful. This proves what they say 'A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing' and in this case it is true. Grammar books are not the colourful illustrated books with the interesting layout and nice pictures, grammar books are usually dull and boring, but they do serve a purpose. Whilst learning about grammar, look at the verbs, number of tenses, adjectives and language gender (if necessary). By now, you will have probably heard a fair amount of the language spoken already and the grammar might make a bit of sense to you. The grammar of a language is like the skeleton, it is the vital part of the language body that supports the muscles, which is the vocabulary. Without the 'skeleton' the 'muscles' are pretty useless, no matter how strong or rich your vocabulary is. Whilst learning the grammar, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to learn heaps of new vocabulary, as you should be focusing on learning the grammar. Don't stop yourself from learning any new words that you come across, but practise what you already know and have a relaxed approach to learning new vocabulary.

What next?
Now you have a rich vocabulary and are clued up on the grammar drills, practice what you know through speaking, listening, reading and writing. Watch your favourite Tv programmes in the new language, you may already know the show word for word, so understanding them should be fairly easy. Read magazine and books and look up any new words that you don't know. And, more importantly, try to communicate if you are not doing so already. Being an illiterate in a foreign language is not as important as not being able to speak or understand when people speak to you. Use what you know already to practice making sentences and phrases that you regularly use and need in every day life. Try to translate the following phrases in to your new language:
- I am confused
- I don't understand
- How do I say.....in (language)?
- Excuse me
- Sorry
- thank you
- I will call you

- I understand
- I want
- I must/should do ......
- I am going home

- Practice, practice and practice! You don't want to forget what you have already learnt.
- There will be times when you are not making any progress, but you will get passed that part and start learning again, it is very common for this to happen.
- You need to know between 1000-2000 words to hold basic conversations
- You need to know between 4000-8000 words to read most reading materials. 
- To become fluent within a year of learning a new language you must study for 2-3 hours a day
- You need to know about 10, 000 words to be classed as fluent, that works out at learning 14 new words a day for two years!