Learning a new language can be an exciting experience and a frustrating ride as well.
I’m raised trilingual and every now and again I try to learn another language just for fun. Languages, contrary to my math skills, were always far better, so learning a new one is a good way to keep me focused. In this post I want to share some of the hurdles you may face or things you may want to consider before learning.
So one of the major downfalls I believe for dropping off in the learning process is not a finding purpose. Just randomly choosing a language because you just felt like it, will be a major downfall. You can’t keep motivating yourself if you cannot envision why you might need the language in the future. If you are a vivid traveler you have a reason, for your job or for immigration as well.
Being able to learn a language properly is being immersed in it. You need to hear it. Starting off with grammar at once will make it difficult to create a feel for the language. Along side you can start learning words to be able to understand. Grammar exercises will otherwise become puzzling if you skip through the basics, as you don’t have enough vocabulary to quickly scan an assignment. Before you can comprehend the grammar, you’ll be struggling to understand what is being said/written.
A good way to practice is just listening, preferably not courses or scripted conversations. Watch something like the news, where spoken word is fast, but clearly articulated and more natural. You’ll get a sense for how a language sounds which doesn’t feel forced.
Learning needs to be engaging and diverse to keep it interesting. While drilling down words and rules is a necessity, doing more lightweight stuff like listening to the news or reading articles will keep the material fresh.
There are tons of websites you can visit in the language you are learning. Read some articles to get familiar with the structure of sentences and the overall tone. Some languages are more formal than others. Don’t be afraid you won’t understand all words, scanning it and understanding what is being written is important as well.
In a digital age there are tons of digital solutions ranging from expensive software to free apps. Those apps are particularly helpful as you can easily do this on the fly and quickly expand your vocabulary. Each app has a different methodology so you have to discover one for yourself. “Fun and easy learn” is one I fancy most.
Keep in mind that everybody has its own way of learning and not every language is as easy to learn. From French to Italian might be simple, but from Spanish to German will be more challenging. Language is a lot of repetition and you won’t learn it overnight. It would be best if you could dialogue with a native speaker that also understands another language such as English so you can cheat some words until you get the hang of it.