The Value of Learning a Second Language
Learning a second language can be difficult at times, but the struggle is well worth it in the end. The older you get the harder learning a second language will be. It's best to teach your children or take a language class in middle or high school while the brain is still developing, because it is easier for us to learn the second language of our choice. Having the ability to speak a second language is of great value on the job front, being fluent in that language even more so.
Why did I choose now to begin my quest of learning a second language? I've realized just how important it actually is to be able to not only speak, but write and read a second language for any job. I took French in high school but after three years I still could not speak the language due to the way the classes were structured. Now I'm investing what little free time I have in learning Spanish so I can communicate better with my employees.
I find it a joy to come home and relax while I practice and listen to Spanish with my puppy. My fiance is also taking Spanish in college to continue on his education from high school. It is my hope we will come to know enough Spanish that we can someday teach our children Spanish and the importance of learning a second language. I want them to love language and find joy in learning new languages, so it is my hope that we can teach our children to be fluently bilingual.
Tips for Easy Learning:
Flashcards-- Having a picture of the word you are trying to learn on one side and the answer on the back can be a useful way to learn simple phrases or words.
Memory--Personally my favorite way to memorize anything! It works great, I loved it and use this method for memorizing terms and definitions among other things for every college class. You can create memory cards with Spanish words and their English counter parts or you could match words to pictures. The options are endless, however you learn best is the best way to match the pairs.
Use labels--As a starting option you can label simple household objects for example the refrigerator, cabinets, table, or the door. These things are easily labeled without interfering in the every day use of these items.
Practice, practice, practice! Even for those natural learners who pick up things fast, practice is the key to becoming the best and mastering whatever it is you are trying to learn. With learning any language practice is key. Whether you practice alone, with someone who fluently speaks the language, or practicing with someone who is learning just like you, practice is your key to learning the language fast.
Tools for Learning a Second Language:
For those out of school and still interested in learning a second language iTunes has some great free podcasts and iTunesU offers free college courses for basically any subject.
There are language books for dummies along with other learning language books. Language books for dummies get mixed reviews depending on the language you are looking to learn and whether or not you want an audio dummy book. The language audio books for dummies are usually a star to star and a half lower than the regular books. Some of my very favorite books include the Practice Makes Perfect series. You can find books for every part of the language from speaking to writing. I love these work books because it allows you to teach yourself, by following along in the workbook. All the answers are in the back of the book so you can ensure you are getting the right answers. Below is one of my all time favorites in the Practice Makes Perfect series. This book not only comes with plenty of beginner exercies, but it also gives you access to some really great on-line resources.
There are many reliable sources online you can use as well. Spanishdict.com is a great source for those looking to learn Spanish. They offer lessons and will score you on how well you do for each lesson.
Your learning style will ultimately decide which tools and tricks you use, however most of these tips will work for any learning style. Whether choosing to learn by book or some online source learning a second language can be a snap if you are committed and practice.
It is never too late to learn a second language. The pros of learning a second language outweigh any cons you could possibly come up with. Being bilingual or even being able to speak a second language even a little will greatly increase your likelihood of being hired in today's job market. In some job markets you can get an increased pay if you are bilingual in the right language. Being offered a higher pay is a great incentive for most students to continue their second language studies through college.
However, these pay raises are not usually offered unless you are an immigrant that is fluent in English. There are not many incentives for Americans that speak a second language unless you pick the right field. For example the federal government is likely to pay you more if you have a second language in one of their most sought after foreign languages like Swahili.
Most popular foreign languages being studied in colleges by American students: German, French, and Spanish are dropping from the most popular languages being studied and are being replaced by Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Latin and Russian.
Learning a second language not only proves you to be a more qualified potential employee, but you get to learn about a new culture and new peoples. Whether you choose to learn a second language for a higher potential to be a better qualified employee, for fun, or to learn about your heritage, learning a second language can be fun and will ultimately prove to be one of the best decisions you've ever made.