People can increase their language abilities at any age. By writing and speaking effectively, we are able to express ourselves more fully. One of the best ways to expand our reach of communication is by learning a second language. Language learning broadens our communication channels and creates chances for us to expand our mind and our thinking to different levels. Whether you are learning French, Spanish, German, Russian, or Swahili, the same principles apply. When learning a language, you force your brain to think differently and to translate thoughts and ideas to a different plane. This process will make you much more aware of the language you use and improve your communication abilities, thus increasing your linguistic and verbal intelligence.
Improved intelligence and improved communication abilities are just a few of the many benefits of language learning. If you’ve ever had a desire to learn a second language, go out and get a language learning book. Order that set of tapes. Get started now! We at the EduMetrics Institute have some useful tips and techniques for learning a second language, based on our research and our own personal experience. Read on to find out how you can succeed at learning a new language!
EduMetrics' Top 12 Tips For Language Learning
Tip 1 Get Going: Start now! So often, people return from international vacations excited about learning a language; however, as time goes by that excitement fades and they never actually learn they were so excited about. Don’t let procrastination keep you from learning something new.
Tip 2 Be Picky: While you are capable of learning many different languages, you simply can't learn them all. Consider a few factors when deciding which language to study. Learning a language requires a significant time investment, so if you don’t enjoy the language, it probably isn’t for you.
You may wish to learn Afrikaans (or any other lesser-known language). This is great if you have a friend from
, you plan on traveling there, or you intend to conduct business there. Otherwise, the language is probably impractical for you. Consider the availability of help and instructional materials. Are you going to have sufficient opportunities to practice what you’ve learned? It’s easiest to learn languages when:
- You have a friend or relative who speaks the language
- Instructional materials and help are available
- You have or will have contact with people who speak the language
While you can succeed without these advantages, you want to have as many factors in your favor as possible to increase your chances of success and to motivate you to continue.
Tip 3 Make Mistakes: In the course of your language learning, you WILL make mistakes. You’ll make them every day. Don’t be afraid to speak because what you’re saying isn’t perfectly structured. In most cases, native speakers will still understand you, even if you piece together just three or four words they understand. They may even give you suggestions to help you improve!
Tip 4 Talk to Yourself: To learn a language, you need to consistently practice forming the words all the way from thought to sound. Letting words slide through your brain won’t help you as much as having them come out of your mouth. Speak out loud. Think out loud in the foreign language. Talk to yourself in the language, even if it is something simple. Instead of “I need to find eggs and milk,” think “eu preciso achar ovos e leite” (Portuguese). If you don’t know a word or phrase, write down the English equivalent and look it up in your foreign language dictionary later.
Tip 5 Take Advantage of Your Friends: Whatever you do, don’t shut up! If you know people who speak your new language, begin talking to those people in that language, even if it is a simple “Hello, how are you?” Leave your comfort zone with the language, and you’re sure to learn something new. Try to talk about your day, the news, the weather, or whatever else you normally discuss.
If you don’t know anybody who speaks your new language, start talking to people about it. If you hear someone speaking your language on the bus, introduce yourself. Ask where that person is from, and express interest in their language. When you learn a language and talk about learning the language, you’ll be surprised to find out how many people around you speak it. Language learning can even be a conversation starter. Mention enough times that you’re trying to learn Italian, and eventually you’ll find someone who SPEAKS Italian, WANTS TO LEARN Italian, or IS Italian. You can speak with these people to practice your language skills, plus you can make some new friends. Language learning is a great ice breaker to help you make friends quickly.
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