Why should we learn languages?
If you could choose a superpower what would it be? Speaking all the languages? Learning a new language opens so many doors. Doors of communication. Doors of opportunities.Doors of self-fulfillment. It’s also very healthy for your brain. If you ever feel like your brain needs an exercise – learn a language. In the next generations language learning and speaking might not be needed as much. With all the technology of devices that translate as we speak, communication will get easier and easier. And still, there is a secret charm and many benefits of learning a new language. Exercise for your brain at a different level. Statistics show that one of the ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease is to learn a new language.
“I wish I could speak another language.”
As a kid, I didn’t know I love languages. It was more of a disliking kind of relationship. We had mandatory English classes since 5th grade. I was not getting a single part of what’s going on in those classes. It was just so hard, and new, and scary. I was the worst student, which made me even more unmotivated to learn or practice. Then I had Russian and English in high school when I was clever enough to learn a few basics in pronunciation and master it so much that I would only get A’s. Even though I still wouldn’t be able to apply a grammatical rule and explain why I did it. (I still don’t know if those were my master cover skills or the school system levels of care were not extremely high :), probably a little bit of both)
On the other hand, I would never limit my entertainment only to my native language. Music, movies, shows on any language, that was available on TV/radio. (This was before the internet when there was no Youtube or Netflix or easy access to whatever you want.) I found out about my love for linguistics, the sounds of a new language, and articulation. Listening to all kinds of international music, finding the beauty of it in the way the words sound besides the music itself. The passion of the singer hidden in the articulation.
It sounds like a luxury or impossible task for people who have never had the need or interest in learning a new language. Some people don’t even think of it until they hear other people speaking a language different than their own. “I wish I could speak another language .”-they think at the moment they hear and realize that they don’t understand but never really pursue it.
How can I Learn Another Language
You are never too old to learn a new language. For some people is easier and for some harder. Some people have the ear for languages. Some find joy in it. Others learn it because they need to, or for different reasons. Some people love language learning and learn one after another. And everybody has different ways of learning, improving, and practicing the new language.
POLYGLOT pol·y·glot /ˈpälēˌɡlät/adjective 1.knowing or using several languages.” a polyglot career woman”
noun 2.a person who knows and is able to use several languages.
In learning a new language the more comfortable your brain gets with the new language the more it gets the whole picture. For example, I would be able to understand the whole paragraph of a book without even thinking or forcing my brain to make a sense of it. Even though half of the words I have never heard but didn’t know the exact meaning of. At the same moment, I would be too shy, not confident enough in my skills, thinking too much before I would be able to have a conversation or build a whole, correct sentence myself. The more you work on it, the more it improves, the easier it gets and the better you get. So here are some tips that might help you in the learning process.
17 Awesome Tips For Learning a New Language
1. Read children’s books.
Translate it too if needed. I remember my first children’s book on English I was 22 or so and got the “The Secret Garden”. I remember when I didn’t get anything and the exact “AHA” moment I did get what is going on in it and how beautiful it is. It could be a little easier if I picked a book that I have already read and am familiar with. Your foreign language brain is young as a child that has its first steps of learning to speak. So go for it and enjoy some children’s books!
. Watch /read something you already know and enjoy in the language. new
Tv shows like “Friends”, favorite children’s stories or something else you know very well.
3. Find a community.
Going to classes or learning on your own, the community is very important for new learners. Find somebody to practice your skills with. There is a lot of options now to communicate with other people. Online apps for polyglots or some native speakers who are willing to help. Find group meetups in your city or other learners to learn with.
4. Don’t take it as a chore, make it a fun hobby.
Play games with other learners or native speakers. Find songs you like and translate.
5. Be patient with yourself and others.
Language learning takes time. Don’t get fooled by all those false advertising like ” Learn Spanish/German/English in 7 days”. A lot of people get excited and when it doesn’t happen in the promised timing (2 weeks,30 days, etc.) they give up. Remember, it takes time and practice. That’s why to be patient and allow yourself to be a beginner.
6.Create a plan of learning.
Give yourself one day a week to learn something new and one day to practice it. Depending on your schedule and goals create a plan and schedule of learning. Overwhelming yourself with new information without applying it in practice and making sure you know it well so you can build upon it is like waiting to climb to the top floor of the Stairmaster. It’s not going to get you anywhere.
6. Have fun with it.
Make it suit your hobbies, apply it to things you already like doing. Learn the words for your favorite things that you use on a daily bases. Associate the sound and meaning of new words with something that you already know, and you are familiar with.
.Practice imitating the sounds .Out loud.
Repeat words with an interesting pronunciation.When you watch tv or listen to some music repeat what you hear. That way you can hear yourself pronouncing the words and get more comfortable speaking.
8. Start speaking right away.
Different people have different ways of learning. Whatever is easy for some might be difficult for others. That’s why find your own way of learning. One of the ways to get over the fear of failure when speaking is simply to throw yourself in the see of speaking. Don’t worry about grammar and rules, throw yourself in learning as you go, and from speaking /reading/watching/listening. At some moment it will all start making sense.
9. Never think you know it all , or you are 100% fluent.
There is always something new to learn even in your native language.Try to improve your self,your choice of words all the time.
10. Enjoy and celebrate the little victories of understanding, implementing something new.
The victory of understanding a joke, and the victory of making one yourself. Humor is hard to translate, a lot of jokes are getting lost in translation. Different nationalities have different sense of humor. So this is one of the BIG milestones of learning a new language. Recognize it when the moment comes understanding/making a joke in the language you are learning. Celebrate and reward yourself for those little milestones.
11. Pay attention to the language of your thoughts.
(mostly for people who live in another country or use the new language on a daily bases.) You know you are absorbing the new language when your thoughts start being on it. Success!!!!
. Ask and let people correct you.
Another reason finding a community is important. This could be a little ego hurting in the beginning but an easy way to get over yourself. It’s totally worth it.
13. Find practice online.
There are many apps and groups you can find online anywhere in the world. Meet people from all over the world and practice your language skills.
14. Let yourself be a beginner.
Don’t be shy because you don’t know anything. Ask. Don’t stress if some things need more practice than others. Just do it, don’t expect yourself to figure something out from the first time. Like everything in life mastering starts with beginning.:)
Whatch movies with subtitles in the language that is spoken ,not translated to your language.
That way it’s easy to visualize the spelling of the words and connect it to the right pronunciation.
16. Combine knowledge.
An easy way to speak more than one or two languages. Once you master one, find similar languages to it. For example, Spanish-Portuguese or Italian(all are Latin based ). After you have the base of one find all the similarities and differences. It will be way easier to build upon the base you already have.
Read books, magazines, and everything you get access to. Start from easy children’s books, books you love and have read, and new ones to improve your skills.