Globalization is a real eye opener for the world. It makes me wonder about a lot of things:
- I wonder if it helps us discover new cultures, traditions, and customs…
- I wonder if it gives us unexpected opportunities on the global job market…
- I wonder if lack of a foreign language prevents some people from embracing these opportunities…
Nowadays, learning a foreign language has become trendy, but some people consider language learning complex or even impossible.
As a linguist, translator and polyglot, I am going to share 7 tips for learning a new language:
Set your targets before you start
First and foremost determine your purposes by asking yourself;
- why do I want to learn a language?
- What kind of benefits am I going to get out of learning a language?
- Will a language help me to accomplish my dreams?
Once you find answers to these questions, you can start to learn a language.
Setting goals or targets is as important as building the foundation for the house.
Positive thinking matters
Think positively all the time; you will go through difficult times (there is no doubt), while you study. There will always be internal and external obstacles…
There will always be some annoying ‘psychopaths’. Even some of your friends and relatives will put you down by claiming that you cannot do that or you are not good enough to do so etc.
Never ever lose your belief in your abilities, stay calm, dream ambitiously and be positive. If you do that, the whole process is going to be a piece of cake!
Do not focus on Grammar
Teaching grammar for language learners is rife. Schools, universities and even language centers provide old-fashioned traditional and unproductive methods of teaching grammar.
Grammar complicates the process which causes hatred and less motivation towards a language. The professor, polyglot and linguist from the University of Nizwa, Tammy Eyole, remarkably noted:
“Go from the language to the grammar instead of from the grammar to the language”.
He gives importance to grammar, but he prefers learning grammar indirectly through reading novels, and magazines. While you read, ask yourself critical questions related to a language.
Leave your comfort zone
When I say, “Leave your comfort zone”, I mean that all language learners should make mistakes. We are not perfect, we strive to be perfect. The only way, to improve our language abilities, is through making mistakes and I do mean this literally.
Language learners should keep this slogan in mind:
I am going make mistakes, learn from them, laugh at my mistakes and move along.
Read, read and read
Building vocabulary is an essential part of learning. Vocabulary, from my point of view, plays 90% out of 100% of the language learning process. Vocabulary is everywhere:
- You listen to words;
- you speak with words;
- you write words;
- And you read words.
You can read whatever you like; politics, economics, literature, science and etc.
Vocabulary is a foundation of any language, not grammar!
Language should be acquired everywhere, not just in classrooms
Unfortunately, many language learners depend on classrooms, they think that classrooms should make them fluent. This kind of thinking is inadequate and unfair because classrooms will guide you about what to do and language learners should do the rest.
Language learners should not depend on classrooms, they should go beyond classes.
Professor Tammy Eyole told me something which I found very interesting and unique:
“Treat a language as you treat your close friend”.
What he meant was that every learner should use the language everywhere; university, college, home, market, streets and so on.
Children’s Learning System
Have you ever wondered why children learn everything so fast? What is their strategy? Why are they good at learning everything?
The answer is easy, but many “grown up people” underestimate their way of learning. They don’t follow what is considered an essential aspect of effective learning;
Children study with emotions, happiness, and absolute curiosity.
Children look at words and wonder how they are written, how they are spelled and how they are pronounced; sometimes they have fun with them.
However, many adult learners study a language with no fun. They think that learning a language is kind of science or they have to ‘focus’ on a language with ‘full consciousness’.
The best way of learning a language is to have fun with it; study a language with fun, emotions, and excitement.