Learning a language is time consuming and you need to put in a lot of effort. Many people think twice about even taking the plunge. Considering how difficult it can be to learn a new language, is it worth the effort?
100% and without a doubt!
There are ways you can make language learning easy, fun, and enjoyable. And the benefits of being bilingual are endless. This short article is all about getting you over those language learning hurdles so that you can benefit from having another language fast, meet your goals, and gain respect for your efforts.
1. Motivate yourself daily
Let’s start with the most important tip that can’t be overemphasised – self motivation. How hard it is to learn a new language depends on how well you can keep up your motivation. At the back of your mind, you need to remember why you are learning.
The more reasons you have to learn, the stronger your motivation. The list of benefits of being bilingual is never ending. You can communicate more effectively in a different language, see the world in a different light, gain cultural appreciation and so, so much more. According to a source at the University of Reading, speaking several languages improves your your memory and cognitive skills, not to mention what it does for your mental health. And bilingualism has been linked to better chances against Alzheimer’s and dementia: ‘bilingual individuals experience the onset of dementia four years later than those who only speak one language, on average.’ (This reason alone should be enough to make you want to re-download Duolingo that you deleted last summer to free up some storage space on your iPhone, or better yet, contact us at Dialogue to enquire about our 1-1 language training sessions!)
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Planning is essential to reaching a language fluency level that you can be proud of. No matter how hard it is to learn a new language, you need a realistic schedule. By setting your goal (think about what motivates you from tip number 1), and working it into your daily routine, you can create a habit out of language learning. If you’re able to plan well, you can track your progress and gauge your language level regularly.
Consider from the four pillars of language learning what’s key for you:
- Listening or
In an ideal world you should do all four of these activities regularly for maximum impact and a rounded approach. Even writing a few sentences a day, watching a foreign movie with subtitles, reading a news article, or talking to a family member can help you to progress. Equally, remember why you are learning a new language too – if it’s to communicate better with a colleague, make sure you are allocating more time to speaking. If it’s to respond to emails focus your efforts on reading and writing.
3. Stop hiding, start talking
As resistant as most of us can be to this part of the learning process, it is critical. You can hide behind books and apps all you want, but the only way to be fluent is to engage in real conversation. As soon as you have the basics, start talking as soon as possible – be it to fellow students, or, better still, to native speakers of the language. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes – it’s the only way we can learn.
It’s generally easier to listen and read without thoroughly understanding everything. Speaking and writing removes the safety net and forces you to use vocabulary and adjust your grammar in a way that reinforces what you learn. Writing is easier than speaking because you can go back and fix it more easily. If you prefer, start with that. Use what you know and try not to be too ambitious – write about something that interests/amuses you – you’ll remember it better.
Try not to allow language learning anxiety to prevent you from progressing – you’ve got this!
If you’re serious about enhancing your foreign language skills, Dialogue is here to help. We offer a range of foreign language courses and support you at every step of the way of your language learning journey.