- Education and Science
How to Become Successful at Learning A New Language
So you want to learn a new language? You are so welcome. Learning a new language can be fun but you will agree with me that it could also be quite daunting.
You will easily find out that there are many things to know. There are many questions to ask and there are many things which you may never find out immediately especially if you are learning that particular language in a place where it is not usually spoken.
But that is not the reason why you should stop or postpone this wonderful move because, believe me, this action of yours i.e. in trying to learn another language can be quite rewarding as well as refreshing.
Think about it, how wonderful it will feel when you suddenly discover that you can now hear them which previously sounded gibberish and nonsensical to you before.
As for me, I so much like it when people (especially strangers) are amazed that I can make conversations no matter how incorrect or funny, in their own tongue.
This is a very big secret between you and me; most times I have noticed that I can easily increase my rapport with such people just because they already think me ‘as one of them’
Rewarding opportunities abound where you can easily become translators or interpreters. But first you must learn the language first.
I have heard many people say that you cannot become a master of any language if you don’t know another one so well.
It is true in a way because most times in learning a new language, you will need to be doing a lot of translation and comparison within you but that is still a very good aspect of the whole exercise simply because you are gradually being exposed into things you never knew or things you took for granted in that very language you are conversant with already.
The first step towards learning a new language is of course, choosing the language to learn.
In this piece, I am already assuming that you have chosen the language to learn and you have started the classes but you are still having that little temptation to call it quits…
Please don’t. Listen, there are some little things you can start doing right now to make the whole learning exercise worthwhile, pleasurable and rewarding experience for you.
Do a little exercise. It is very important that you do a little exercise in that very language everyday. You now have your language textbook/s or guide and most of those materials come with exercises to be done after each class.
It is your duty as a new language learner to do those exercises so as to master the language.
One reason why you should do this is that learning is always a continuous process. Many people complain that once they stop learning, they stop remembering things and that is the reason why you shouldn’t allow that to happen to you especially now that you are playing in a field that is completely new and confusing…
So to keep up to date, you must do a little exercise everyday to keep in stride and forge ahead.
Try and work on short term goals. Yes, this is very necessary. Setting short term goals is one of the best ways of forming and/or dropping any good or bad habit.
It is usually a way of “tricking” the mind.
Most people have this problem of backsliding or relapsing to old habits that they want to do away with after trying for sometime and nothing seems to be working. That is to say, they tend to easily give up.
And that’s because they are seeing the whole tasks involved at once and in a very big dimension and they are already afraid of going the whole hog.
But there is usually a way or working around that problem – you simply set short term goals.
Short term goals will allow you to only focus on a small part of the task in hand. You then dedicate your whole energy into overcoming or executing that small task.
Before you know it, there is nothing again to accomplish or do again but to set another short term goal and work on it once again...little by little.
Remember, some little drops of water is what eventually makes a mighty ocean.
For example when you are learning a language, say French, you might decide to first concentrate in mastering the different ways of conjugating the simplest –er verbs. From there you can then graduate into other things like mastering the masculine and feminine nouns...
You must also decide to set or fix some amount of time for yourself to be able to complete one or two tasks and you must work towards it.
Mind you, this technique also works in any other form of learning so the better you are getting in doing this, the better you are getting overall in all aspects of learning!
Revise and test yourself regularly. Of course it is only by revising and testing yourself regularly that you can measure how you are doing. It is very necessary you do this.
Don’t be disappointed when you notice that there are still many grey areas you might come up against. In fact, that is the real reason why you should always revise.
By constant revising and testing, you will be able to “sharpen” your language learning axe. You will be able to see the big picture easily and decide on the areas that demand more concentration and areas that you have mastered so well.
So please revise and test yourself regularly.
Make use of tips. Most language study materials come with some tips on how to “get it right”. Don’t forget to make use of those tips. Consider them as your guardian angel or the guide in your ears.
These tips could point you to the right way of pronouncing and spelling some of these new words that you are learning as your vocabulary continues to multiply. They will also point out to you very early certain types of mistakes you should avoid especially if you are in the habit of translating from one language to another.
In some cases, these tips could also make all the difference in determining how fast and easy you can master the new language so don’t neglect them.
Use every opportunity to speak the language. This is the juice of becoming successful in learning that very tongue. Try as much as possible to speak it and seize every opportunity you use it.
That is how to get practical. Try speaking it with other people who understand it.
Don’t worry too much about making mistakes
Granted people may laugh at you for “speaking funny” but that is where the whole fun lies. Don’t be discouraged at this point. Most likely you will be corrected and even if they don’t, don’t forget to ask for the correction.
In fact when these people laugh at you, it tells you something. It tells you how good you are getting. It points out your mistakes as wells as shortcomings. It makes you decide to get good in the language to avoid such “embarrassment” as well as surprise them in the future.
So use it.
One problem here is that you might be learning the language in a place where it is not normally spoken. Again, don’t give up. Try using it by speaking it with your teacher. Make use of the audio tapes to become familiar with the accent and manner in which that very language is spoken. Watch movies and listen to news in that language. Read newspapers and visit the internet sites in that language and see how much you can comprehend.
That way you can still feel in touch.
Make sure you are having fun. This is my number one advice to anybody learning anything. Make sure you are having fun.
Learning is not that difficult if you approach it from the fun aspect. You are now a fun seeker so go have fun.
Think of your favorite computer game, you are not deterred by the numerous moves you will have to learn to become a “champion” and beat some other person in that very game. You just think it is fun and fun it becomes instantly…
Apply such mentality or mindset to your language learning activity and see how easy everything starts to become all of a sudden…just like magick!
And finally, to the last but not the least...
Don’t Give up. Don’t relent. Oh yes. Learning a new tongue can be quite daunting and if you happen to have that type of psyche whereby at the first sign of danger you bolt, then stop it now before it stops you!
All over the world, it is only the success stories of people that succeeded that we are normally interested in. No one has the time to listen to all those one thousand and one reasons why you failed…unless you back it up with the ONE reason how you succeeded!
Besides, listening to those who gave up does not encourage anyone to try.
So go out there and make us want to listen to your success story all the time. We want you to tell us how you did it.
And you can only do this if you don’t give up. So don’t relent.