“Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative sympathy and cultural outlook of children.”
Learning a new and foreign language is never easy. Our mother tongue, as well as its corresponding vocabulary, took a fraction of our earliest years to learn and we spend our entire lifetime speaking it–unless we decide to reside and acclimate in an entirely different area. Even then, it would take us at least a year or two to fully grasp the language and learn to speak it like a local. However, learning a foreign language does have its merits. According to Frank Smith, “One language sets you in a corridor for life while two languages open every door along the way. This wise sentiment could not be all the truer. Speaking a foreign language does not only help you in understanding a foreign place’s culture and practice, it also assists you in broadening your perspective of the world–way beyond the sphere in which you are in. Unfortunately, once you have reached adulthood, learning a new language can be incredibly taxing and difficult, it would test your limits and at times it would be much easier to give up. For this reason, many adults who would need professional translation services would often enlist the help of a language translator. However, they may reconsider if they knew that educating themselves to learn a new language is possible. If you are looking to learn a second language, or are in the process of giving up–here are some useful strategies that would aid you in your endeavor:
1.) Be realistic with your goals
You cannot expect to learn a language fully by a fortnight, it takes time and would require constant practice on your part. For this reason, you need to decide on a simple and attainable goal–one that you can work with so that you would not feel overwhelmed. If you are just starting out, look for fifty words of the foreign language of your choice and start using them every single day. Work them in conversations or start using them on people. From there, you can then progress onto grammar.
2.) Make language-learning a lifestyle change
What makes us great speakers in our native tongue is because we have been using it every single day. However, roughly the same thing can be done to quickly learn a foreign language. Consistently working the language into your daily life will make your foreign language learning endeavor more successful and quicker. Look for a language habit that you can follow every single day–no matter how tired or sick you are.
3.) Playhouse with the foreign language
Inviting a foreign language into your daily life and routine is another nifty way of learning it better and faster. This is because your brain will consider this language as something that is important to know and would be worth caring about. Make use of every opportunity that presents itself to you and gets exposed to the new language as much as you can. Immerse your daily life with the usage of the foreign language by labeling your everyday objects in the foreign language, reading books written in the foreign language, watching movies and so on. You can even keep a daily diary and relate how your day went written in foreign language.
4.) Use technology to help you in your endeavor
It might be a long stretch, but resetting your phone to the foreign language you are trying to learn will help you heaps. Additionally, it would help you retain the language better and learn it faster. Learning a new language this way can be very effective as it would aid you in learning new words right away. Similarly, you can do the same on your PC and desktop or, if you are feeling particularly crafty, find more structured opportunities online.
5.) Do not worry about making mistakes
It is normal to commit mistakes when you are still trying to learn. So, do not let this be a barrier to your learning endeavor. Trying to converse in a foreign is already daunting enough and the fact that you are making an attempt is already a win for you. Try to speak with locals or experts on the language and do not be afraid to commit errors. They will likely appreciate your effort and help you enhance your skill.