Learn a new language in 4 easy steps

Language is the glue that brings us together and sets us apart as human beings. We are social creatures by nature and we all need language to communicate. But what happens when two people don’t speak the same language?

Your native language has its limitations. Perhaps you’ve travelled abroad to a foreign country and had difficulties ordering a meal. Or maybe you’ve stumbled upon the perfect job opening but hesitated to apply due to the language requirement. Language can limit us in our ability to communicate with one another, to share our ideas and express our thoughts and feelings.

Learning a second (or third) language can help to bring us into contact with a wider network of like-minded individuals, eliminating language barriers. Research tells us that children may be better at picking up another language, but that doesn’t mean that adults should just give up.

1. Set attainable goals

Begin your learning journey by setting a simple and realistic goal. Why do you want to learn another language? Compile a list of basic words and start using them with others; you will note your progress more quickly if you are able to apply the language in your daily life.

2. Increase your language exposure

The more exposure you have to the language, the more your brain will begin to recognize its importance. Change your computer settings, label objects in your house, follow television programs with subtitles, or narrate your life to an imaginary friend. Increasing your daily exposure is always possible, regardless of the country you live in or the occupation you have.

3. Introduce the language into your daily routine

Learning a new language involves a complete lifestyle change. Students who are consistent with applying newly learnt words and phrases in their daily lives are more likely to note progress. Find a language-learning habit that you can follow even when you are tired or busy; don’t allow excuses to get in the way of your learning. Repeat, repeat, and repeat!

4. Make mistakes

Many students struggle to make progress from the fear of making mistakes. If you consider yourself a perfectionist, you might experience this quality as a hindrance to your learning. It is not important to speak a language perfectly; the greater majority of native-speakers will appreciate your effort and even help you. If you are nervous to test your speaking skills, begin by speaking with someone younger to eliminate the pressure. Toddlers are great listeners and are less likely to pass judgement on your language skills. Be patient, stay motivated and practice often.

AlmaAbout the author

Alma Omerovic is an English language trainer and writer from Canada. She is passionate about education, exploring new cultures, and creative collaboration.

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