The Determined Learner’s Guide to Advanced Language Lessons

The first real hurdles of taking on the language challenge are behind you.

But you might need a little coaching to reach your goals and come out a multilingual winner.

Here we’ll help you seek out the right learning method—or a combination of a few—and move forward until you get your desired result.

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Is Now the Time for Advanced Lessons?

You’re pretty sure that you’ve passed the intermediate level and have a solid grasp on grammar. All good.

If you want to know just where on the fluency scale you land, we’ve got you covered. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) is a guide to gauge where you place with regard to language learning. It will tell you when is the best time to consider advanced coursework.

So you’ve checked out where you stand, and are ready to move on?

Excellent news! Let’s get you up to an advanced level and beyond with your choice of language lessons.

What to Expect from Advanced Language Lessons

At this point, there are some fairly hardcore standards.

Expect a high level of proficiency to be required in all activities, including communication and coursework. If you struggle a bit at first, that’s fine. Don’t give up. Accept the challenge and you’ll see results.

All your coursework will be in the target language. Shelve your native language at the door, because it won’t be spoken in these courses!

Basically the same tools you used to achieve proficiency to the advanced level are necessary to bring it higher. So dig in and intensify what’s already working for you.

Advice, Tools and Strategies for Advanced Language Lessons

Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Practical things, like browsing the internet in your target language, advance learning at a rapid rate.

Record yourself speaking. Then, compare your pronunciation and intonation to native speakers. Adjust accordingly, record again and compare. There isn’t a deadline on learning (unless you actually have a deadline!) so take the time to perfect your speech.

Keep a vocabulary journal to accumulate new words. It doesn’t need to be fancy, a simple notebook will do. One of the best ways to advance a language learning endeavor is to increase the number of words available for use. The more you know, the more you can speak, read and understand. So, concentrate on filling that journal.

To get you started, here are some advanced vocabulary lists:

  • There’s a Chinese vocabulary list here on Games2LearnChinese list that’s outstanding, and will certainly help fill your word journal.

Why not pop in a foreign language film on DVD? Maybe search Netflix for a comedy? Chilling with good movies is an excellent way to bring advanced language learning into everyday life.

Search Youtube for videos in foreign languages on topics you love. Videos with subtitles will make it easier to look up words as you hear them. You can also try using a language learning program that focuses on video. FluentU, for example, teaches languages with authentic web videos like commercials, news clips and interviews.

FluentU videos are sorted by learner level and subject, so you can find advanced material that interests you. These videos also feature interactive subtitles to help you follow along and learn new words, as well as review quizzes to boost vocab retention.

Turn off the subtitles on videos and movies to make your brain work. Films in your target language force acquisition of conversational skills, as those let-me-think-about-that moments get your brain working overtime. And that can be missing from other types of study. Not to mention, they’re entertaining!

Online radio is another method for bringing language into your home—and your mind. Try searching this collection of online radio in foreign languages from Omniglot. The content will bring a bit of culture into your learning adventure. Broadcasts will be current, so you’ll hear relevant topics delivered in authentic voices.

These tips really do help facilitate advanced language learning. I know from personal experience, because I’ve used every single one!

Moving from proficient to fluent in Italian was not an overnight endeavor. I hit a plateau just past the intermediate stage, and knew I’d have to shake things up to get back on track.

I used flashcards, movies, music and vocabulary lists. The emphasis on conversationally utilizing the language at home made the advanced lessons “sink in” more readily.

Writing and speaking can be an indication of how well we know a language, so focus on both. Allocate time each day to work on these areas and you’ll find improvement with less-than-brain-breaking difficulty.

So really, don’t discount the no-fail methods that got you to the point you’re at now. They brought you this far and, if amped up, they’ll carry you further.

Looking for Local Advanced Language Lessons? Explore:

Many cities have classes. With such diverse populations, it’s just logical that metropolitan areas encourage language learning.

There are couple of noteworthy places to study if you’re adaptable to changing locations.

Abroad

I admit, the idea of studying a language—any language!—in a foreign country is a dream come true. This can also be quite realistic. LSI Paris offers courses in a number of foreign languages. If you take a course through IES Abroad Paris, there are summer courses available, so when you’re not working you can stroll the cobblestone streets or visit the Louvre. Tres chic!

Many major cities in Europe and the world at large have their own language institutes, devoted to teaching numerous languages. We’ll introduce you to some institutes in American cities below, but you can rest assured that any mid-sized city will have some options available to you. Just run a quick search online!

Boston

Boston, steeped in rich historical allure, is also home to great advanced language learning resources. CBS Boston has compiled a nice list of top-notch language schools in the area.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles has great programs for language learning, like the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute. And who knows? While you’re there studying, you might run into a foreign film star or two—a perfect moment to strut your language skills.

Additionally, many universities and libraries offer courses in all levels of language learning. The views are spectacular and the campus is beautiful—UCLA offers advanced language courses that will take your skill to a higher level.

Chicago

Summer learning programs in the “Windy City” at the University of Chicago cover several languages. They’re worth checking out if you’re nearby or planning a move!

New York

In the Big Apple? New York University has top-notch programs, and CBS New York can help you identify more options in the area.

Resources for Finding Advanced Language Lessons

There are tons of resources for advanced language lessons online. A few clicks of your mouse, and you’re in business!

French

Need online French help? Try the site French-Exam as well as French By French. Both offer outstanding resources targeted to more advanced and nearly-fluent language learners.

Spanish

Online materials for studying Spanish are extensive, even at the advanced level. Practical Spanish is worth checking out. Lengalia’s Spanish course even offers a placement test to determine your correct level of study before you get started.

The Study Spanish site is filled with resources, including a word-of-the-day link (think vocabulary building and that word journal!), podcasts and free tutorials.

German

German study help is readily available online. Free German lessons keep the learning ball rolling with ActiLingua Academy. Utilizing the advanced-level worksheets on deutschdrang.com is a clever tip for facilitating study, and they’re not available everywhere so this is an interesting find. And if you need to concentrate heavily on grammar, there are some outstanding resources for German learning on free-german-lessons-online.com.

Japanese

Searching for advanced Japanese learning online? This Ninja guide to Japanese looks very comprehensive, is a minimal investment and seems designed to hold any learner’s attention.

Chinese

Chinese language learners will get advanced help from Chinese Pod. The site is interesting and materials are easily accessed.

Udemy is an online resource that offers all levels of Chinese learning, including advanced lessons. (Udemy is worth checking out for other languages as well, and is a great way to find affordable video courses for specific language subjects.)

If the language you’re studying isn’t listed already, don’t despair! There are plenty of free advanced learning materials online for a variety of languages! Try Open Culture, Duolingo, BBC Languages or the Foreign Services Institute for an extensive variety of advanced language lessons.

You’ve Got This!

Acing advanced language lessons is in your wheelhouse if you follow the tips, find a suitable course and apply yourself.

Nail one language—then begin the next!

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