If you take a look at the skills that are in high demand on the job market, and you take a look over time – you’ll see that knowing multiple languages has always been ranked higher.
Not only is it a valuable skill, but it will boost your self-confidence to the sky and it will allow you to travel, communicate, meet new people, consume media and overall have a wider lens to view the world as a whole.
Because when you’re learning a language, you’re learning so much more, from the culture to the history of the people who speak it.
However, learning a new language can be very difficult. So let’s take a look at some tips to help you out:
Find a Good Group
Learning languages isn’t something you can easily do on your own. Languages are an inherently social tool and the best way to learn them is through speaking with other people. So what should you look for in a language group?
For some, it’s encouraging to have a group with mixed levels of knowledge, because the more experienced ones can help out the novices, while for others a group that matches their level is more encouraging because they won’t feel intimidated by the more experienced ones.
A good group will also want to learn in the same way you do, whether it’s by constantly conversing, watching movies, playing out scenarios, or just looking up the news in the foreign language. You’ll also want to make sure you all have similar goals, both in the learning pace and level you want to reach, so you can be adequate support for each other.
Speak as Much as You Can
Whether you live in a country where the language is spoken or you’re just using every opportunity to talk to someone, you’ll want to speak as much as you possibly can.
Two main things stop people from doing this: fear of embarrassment and lack of knowledge. Let’s break them down
Fear of Embarrassment
If you talk to any decent person and they realize you’re speaking a language that’s not your native tongue, they will have patience and help you out. Your pronunciation, grammar, or sentence structure doesn’t at all have to be perfect and people will still understand you. There’s actually a real moment of pride that can form between absolute strangers when someone manages to communicate in a language they are yet learning, so stop being afraid and just talk.
Lack of Knowledge
As we said, you don’t have to speak perfectly to be understood, and the most important thing you need to have is a good vocabulary so you can pick the words that explain what you need. In case you forget them, there are now dictionaries available to help out.
You can find an instant translator review online to check if it’s a good option, especially if it’s not a popular language because you don’t want to be stuck with a bad translation in an urgent situation. So if you want to be functional as soon as possible, learn words first and grammar later.
We spend a lot of our time every day consuming different media. From music on the radio to shows on the TV, sprinkled with YouTube videos, movies, podcasts, and news. If you just switch all of those to the language you are trying to learn, it will be in your ear all day and you’ll have a much easier time not only remembering the words but figuring out the pronunciation, which is often something people struggle with more than anything.
Practice in Your Head
When you’re not able to speak with other people, you can make up conversations in your head and just play them out, speaking both sides. You can also write your diary in the foreign language, or just your grocery list, and if you’re talking in your native language in everyday situations, try to translate it in your head and see how that would play out. The more practice you have in your head, the better it will be when you start speaking.
It’s okay if you stutter and if the progress is slow, especially if this is the first foreign language that you’re learning. The more you know, the easier it will be, but above all – the more time you spend in a place where the language is spoken, the faster you will adopt it. Get involved, get curious about how the language works, and seek out the information you need to say what you want to say, and you’ll be speaking in no time!