Speaking a foreign language does something to the way people see you. It puts you in a different light. There’s an extra dose of respect here and there.
Apart from that, learning a second or more languages aids memory, better listening skills, improved problem solving skills and the chief of them all is that you’re among the one percent who has an advantage when it comes to jobs of the future.
Some might say, why go through the stress of learning a new language when the computer can translate without hassle. Well, here’s one thing you should know, the computer can’t be half as good as an individual who is proficient. Infact, who inputted the languages into the computer in the first place? Here’s one thing you can try. Type one long sentence in your language with complex words and see if the computer will give you a direct translation. When you do that, come tell us in the comment section, what you found.
For those of us who have the goal to learn, when faced with the idea of learning a new language, most of us feel overwhelmed. There are so many words to learn and so many different ways to study. So, here are tips that can serve as a guide on your foreign language journey;
Set language-learning goals:
Setting goals for what you want to achieve is the first step to learning a new language fast. When you don’t set goals, how would you know what you want to achieve and measure whether you have achieved it?
Setting goals narrows your focus so you can stop worrying about the details and get down to business. Research shows that people who set the right kind of goals are more likely to achieve success.
Polyglots suggest learners should set detailed goals, and focus on what you plan to learn rather than how much time you plan to study. An example of a good goal might be, “This week I’m going to learn 30 Spanish vocabulary words related to shopping.” Now that’s a smarter goal.
Goals work best when they make you push yourself. But if they’re too challenging, they can actually discourage you. A good way to get around this is to set goals with a range of outcomes. An example could be, you might say, “I want to learn 30-50 new vocabulary words this week.” The lower number in this range helps you feel the goal is achievable, while the higher number allows you to push yourself.
Learn the “right” words:
Languages are made up of a surprising number of words. English, for example, has between 600,000 and 1 million words. Luckily, you don’t need to learn anywhere near that many words to be proficient in English or any language at all. In a language class on udemy, the teacher said to consider this: the top 100 words make up about 50 percent of English language texts, and the top 1,000 words make up about 90 percent!
You can apply this to other languages. So, check out the lists of the top 1,000 words in the language(s) of your choice. By focusing on learning these words first, you can eliminate wasted time and increase the amount of information you understand very quickly.
When learning your words, you’ll learn faster by using the very best study techniques. An example of one of the best ways to learn vocabulary words is to use flashcards. Flashcards help you focus on individual words and allow you to test yourself, and helps you memorize new information. You can try out electronic flashcards. Paper flashcards work just as well as they ever did, but electronic flashcard programs (download templates online), can provide some great benefits. By using electronic flashcards, you can easily carry large stacks on your smartphone or tablet, use it anywhere, anytime.
Learn the translations first, then learn to produce the new words:
Language experts say it’s easier to learn the translation of a foreign word than it is to learn to say the foreign word when you see its English equivalent. Start by looking at the foreign word, memorize what the translation is, then learn how to pronounce it. That way, when next you see the word, it will be familiar. It’s useless knowing how to pronounce a word whose definition you don’t understand.
Visualize and vocalize:
Visualize the word you’re learning, imagine the image of what it represents and say the new word aloud. This helps you connect the concepts and can improve memorization.
The surprising thing about the brain is that it learns better when you use physical actions while learning. Take advantage of this by gesturing. Let’s say you want to learn the German word Schuh (shoe), say the word while you pretend to put on a shoe. You will recall it faster when next you come across the word.
Belong to a tribe of native speakers and learners:
Some language learners go through the length of relocating to countries whose language they want to become proficient in. But if you can’t afford to do so, especially with the current health realities, joining a group of native speakers online can be of great help. Also, you can make virtual pals who can speak so you can hear and correct yourself where necessary. Another option can be to subscribe to a podcast and listen to TV or radio stations, watch movies or listen to music where the language is being spoken regularly.
This is the crux of the matter. You have to speak the language no matter how funny it might sound to you. Imagine yourself like a baby who learns to say “dada, mama”. It sounds funny at first right? But with constant efforts at speaking the baby says the words right.
Your dream of learning more languages can come true. Practice. Practice. Practice is all you need.
How many foreign languages can you speak? How did you learn them? Do share your personal tips with us in the comment section.