Many people are excited at the prospect of learning foreign language. However, once they get started, they discover that learning a new language isn’t as easy as they first expected. If this has ever happened to you, you’re not alone. But it’s important to remember not to become discouraged. You will eventually meet your goal and when you do, the discouragement will fade into the exhilaration once you become fluent enough to speak and be understood. Here are three tips to help get you there.
* Set reasonable expectations. It took you a long time as a child to learn your first language. Fortunately, it won’t take you as long to learn your second, but it won’t happen overnight either. It will take some concerted effort on your part and you will make mistakes. Don’t let those mistakes get you down. You will make them. It’s only natural.
* You’ve heard the old adage “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Learning a new spoken language goes much the same way. Make sure you only attempt to learn a reasonable amount of material in the time you have available. We get frustrated when they try to absorb too much too soon. Our brains can handle the load. So take breaks to give your brain a rest it needs.
* Learn vocabulary first. Yes, learning sentence structure is important, but vocabulary, forms the building blocks of the new language you are attempting to learn. A great way to do this is to use standard 3 x 5 index cards. Write your vocabulary words on one side in English, and before in translation on the other. Keep your cards with you as much as possible during the day. Test yourself often. The more you see the words and their foreign translations, the better your brain will be able to recall them when it needs to.
Learning foreign language is all about being able to interact. Sure, drills and vocabulary exams are important. But it’s all about being able to express your thoughts and understand the thoughts of others. The learning process doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it should be fun. With these tips and others like them, you’ll be well on your way to opening the door to a more enriched life and possibly even some great foreign language careers.