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Developing Language Skills

We provide descriptions of some of the skills language learners develop, based on the ACTFL proficiency guidelines, and give recommendations of techniques and activities to use to develop these skills.

DevelopSkills.jpg (17 Kbytes)Learning a new language means developing skills that allow you to process what other people say in another language and to communicate what you want to say. As part of the LinguaLinks product, SIL has developed an extensive set of resources to help the self-directed language learner to understand and develop these skills. The approach is based on the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. Many of these resources are made available here as part of this website.

Principal skills

The goal of the language learner is to achieve communicative competence. These are the principal skills involved in good communication along with recommendations of techniques and activities to use to develop them:

Other resources

Here are some other resources in LinguaLinks that are relevant to this topic:
Success with foreign languages
Earl Stevick's book, recently out of print, may now be downloaded. It offers an analysis of interviews with seven successful language learners who used a variety of different strategies and discusses what worked for them.
Kick-starting your language learning
This paper gives specific suggestions for how to work with a speaker of a language to develop understanding of about 1000 words and basic grammatical structures.
Language learning in the real world for non-beginners
This paper gives specific suggestions for how intermediate and advanced language learners can start conversing in a second language, build understanding of narratives, procedures, and other discourse types, and expand cultural knowledge.
Language learning strategies
Strategies language learners can use to make the process work for them.