[editors note: Today we have a great guest post by Tami Lawry with some great words of wisdom. Enjoy!]
In today’s world, learning another language can be extremely beneficial. More and more cities are becoming diverse, and knowing another language can help you communicate with your neighbors. More and more companies are starting to expand globally, and knowing another language can help you not only land a job, but be involved in the global side of the business.
But learning a new language is not very easy, especially as you get older. You no longer have the time or attention span to dedicate to learning a new language, which can cause frustration during the learning process. Although learning a new language will be challenging, it’s not impossible. Instead of giving up, use the following tips to help you successfully learn a new language.
1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Not one person has ever learned a new language without making a few mistakes. Even a child learning their native language for the first time is going to make mistakes. You cannot get embarrassed if you say the wrong thing, and you cannot get frustrated if you don’t know the right word or phrase. This negativity is only going to deter you from wanting to learn. Just remember that everything you say or write is practice, and these mistakes will only help you learn.
2. Repetition is key.
One of the most effective methods of learning a new language is repetition. It’s important to repeat the same words or phrases multiple times in order to make them stick into your memory. Using flashcards can help, but your study time is what will be most beneficial. Studying your foreign language for an hour a day for six months isn’t going to provide the same type of repetition as studying for three hours a day for three weeks. If you can dedicate a longer stretch of studying for a shorter length of time, you’ll end up learning more.
3. Consider software over classes.
Using a foreign language software program such as Rosetta Stone can be more beneficial than taking a class. When you take a class, the pace of the class will always follow the slowest learner, so if someone in your class is struggling, you’re not going to move forward as quickly. Plus, these classes tend to be an hour, which deprives you of repetition. When you use a software program, you have the ability to work at your own pace, allowing you to move forward as you see fit. It also allows you to study for a longer period of time every day, which you already know is more beneficial.
Practice the words you learn everywhere you go. For example, during your work lunch break, look around you and try and name as many things as you possibly can in the new language. Try to name objects, colors, smells—anything that you notice. This will help you start to learn new words and put it all together.
5. Carry a dictionary.
Having a dictionary at all times can help you learn a new language. If you don’t know the right word or phrase, you can instantly look it up. This will not only help you communicate with others right away, but it can also help you practice.
6. Communicate with other native speakers.
Practice makes perfect. After all the programs, classes and lectures you’ve endured, it’s important to spend a great deal of time communicating with other native speakers. This is the best way to learn because it allows you to continually practicing saying things that you would normally say, and it allows you to learn new words and phrases that may have been overlooked in your studies. Find a neighbor or someone in your community that you can communicate with regularly, or find an online website that allows you to Skype or even online chat with a native speaker. It may be hard at first, but you’ll eventually catch on and learn more than you ever thought possible.
7. Ask questions.
When communicating with another native speaker, don’t be afraid to ask them for help. For example, learning to say, “How do you say…” in the foreign language and then pointing at an object will help you to ask others for help. This will help you learn while still practicing your new language skills.
8. Don’t forget about dialect.
The dialect you use is also important, and it’s something you need to consider. Think about the United States. Someone from the Midwest has a different dialect than someone from the South, and this is the same with other languages.Speaking the wrong regional dialect will not make it impossible for you to communicate, but it will teach you new things about the language you’re learning. Like your native language, you’ll notice different slang words and different pronunciations when you talk with someone from a different area. If you’re still in the learning process, it’s always best to try and practice your communicating with someone from the same regional area as your teacher.
9. Don’t literally translate.
The biggest problem that everyone has when learning a new language is trying to literally translate the content. Unfortunately, not every language places the subject, verbs, and other sentence necessities in the same order, and this can cause problems between you and the communicator because you have literally translated the sentence incorrectly.
Tami Lowry is a freelance writer who expanded her service offerings by learning and offering a foreign language.
Featured pic by: la.kien
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