Updated: May 11, 2020
Looking to broaden your horizons and create new opportunities with your career, education and or cultural diversity? Here are 5 incredibly helpful tips to give you a massive head start on the daunting task of learning a new language.
Yes, learning a new language can be frustrating, daunting, and very difficult for some of us, especially the older we get and the less time we have to put in the effort to understand and learn about something that is, (excuse the pun), so foreign to us.
I have spent my life traveling and living in foreign countries as a freelance writer, marketer, and graphic designer.
So, I love to embrace new cultures and local people. I like to think I try to invest time in understanding the cultural differences and key phrases to show people I meet that I am trying my best to integrate and be a part of the social dynamics and not just another tourist.
I moved to Spain last year and it has been a wonderful journey diving headfirst into a new country and language. Here are some things I have learned along the way while learning Spanish as an adult English speaker who has never been fluent in a secondary language.
What is it to be fluent?
Most daily newspapers only use 1,400 different words in their articles and content. They focus on hitting all markets and education levels. Not only that, but most of us don’t use more than 600 unique words daily. Of course, it is wonderful to have a vast vocabulary to use the magic of words to describe exactly what you mean.
However, it is nice to know that when you are learning a foreign language like Spanish you can be reassured understanding over time and studying to focus on being fluent with the useful everyday words you will hear and need to say.
Using this fundamental philosophy, you will not overstretch yourself and everything you learn will be used and needed. Rather than learning sentences and vocabulary, you may only say once in your entire life.
2. Be realistic – Embrace Failure
The fact that you are attempting seriously to learn another language shows that you deserve praise and pat yourself on the back. The key to development and success is the state of mind while you are studying. You have to understand before you start that it is going to be difficult, sometimes boring or monotonous and you are going to make many mistakes and fail.
Failure is your friend.
Every teacher and friend I have talked to who is fluent in several languages has the same thing in common. They were not afraid to try and make mistakes. The more they tried to speak and interact with native speakers the more they practiced, the more mistakes, and this increased the feedback of vocabulary and pronunciation.
Most countries embrace a non-native speaker trying to converse in their mother tongue and yes you will make mistakes, but this practice and feedback will push your knowledge and speed of learning drastically.
Constantly remind yourself of the reason you want or need to learn. Even if it is a bucket list item to learn a new language or you need it to get a promotion or to start your dream career.
Remind yourself why you want to learn Mandarin or Hindi. Write down a list of all the reasons you want to learn and all of the positive outcomes that will come for learning the language.
4. Read what you love
A fantastic way to speed up your learning and development is to read not just text in your new language but read something you have a passion or love for.
It might be novels from one of your favorite authors or something simple like sports you enjoy watching and reading articles about the game. When you read topics, you have an interest in you will be more engaged and focused on reading or wanting to read.
To be able to read a book in a foreign language is a massive achievement, so it is better to make the first book one you enjoyed.
5. Age is not a factor
I was always told and always thought that the older you are the harder it is to learn. This is a myth that I hear from most people when I tell them I am learning Spanish. Studies have shown it is not harder for adults to learn it is just we learn in different ways.
Children tend to learn organically and instinctively, and adults learn systematically.
So, push that myth to the side and don’t be afraid to dive right into your new language.
The Journey Begins!
We will be offering fantastic tips and tricks along your learning language journey and we will be with you every step of the way.
Good luck everybody!!! Come back soon for more language learning tools and advice.
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