It’s a few days to the New Year, and with every new season, we have the opportunity to upskill and upgrade our lives. There are tons of things to learn come 2020, one of which is a new language. Yes, ladies, nothing connects cultures, people and opportunities than having a shared language. If you doubt this, try spending a long weekend in a rural community with people you don’t understand.
Also, it’s not always about relocating. Some behavioural psychologists have revealed that understanding a new language improves our cognitive functions and helps us have more empathy and perception of the world. So if you are like me, ready to dust that Duolingo app, or just willing to give a shot to a new language, here are a few things you can do.
Use an App
Apps are great if you interact with them as you should and do the work. An app like Duolingo is great for learning new languages. It’s also very easy to use and sends you reminders regularly incase you conveniently forget to use your learning time allocated for the day. So if you’re disciplined and you don’t ignore the reminders, it can be very helpful.
Practice the Language
You’ll never learn a language if do not try to actively speak it. If your first language is English, one of the reasons you’re fluent is because you’re constantly hearing and speaking it. This is the same with any other language you’re trying to learn. I have tried to learn a new language many times and failed because of this. It just won’t stick. You need to have regular conversations in that language, watch TV shows/movies or videos if you can.
Carry a Pocket Dictionary
This is definitely essential so you can have something to refer to as you go about your day. A pocket dictionary that translates English to the language you’re learning. Or in this digital age, you could use your phone and have an online dictionary open.
Begin with Basics
Learn the most important words, phrases and sentences first. Things that you’ll most likely use on a daily basis. Greetings and questions like ‘Hello, how are you?’ ‘My name is…., what your name?’ ‘How do I get to…? Etc.
Hire a Private Tutor
Or attend a language school, although I would take a private tutor over a school. A private tutor will give you more attention and tailor classes to meet your needs, instead of just a blanket class. You can also focus on your weaknesses and fortify your strengths.
Finally, study the culture of the people. This may give you some insight into the way they speak, their slangs and why certain words mean what they mean.