All posts by Pranshu Bhandari

Learning a new language? Make it an experience!

There is no denying the benefits that learning a new language brings in. A broader perspective, cognitive benefits, expansion of your cultural horizons, a boost to your CV, and so much more!

Learning a language is not easy. It requires constant effort and dedication. However, it wouldn’t be wrong in saying that learning a language has never been easier. Today, you can learn languages from the comfort of your home!

A few things, if done right, can transform the way you learn your next language. If we were to summarize it – don’t make language learning a new ‘task’ – let it flow with your daily life-style.

  1. Plan
    • Why do you want to learn a new language?
      Know your need before starting up a new course. Are you traveling? Are you taking up a new language with an aim to converse well? Is it for school? Is it for a professional reason? Are you dating someone who speaks another language?
      Knowing the need is essential to pick up the right learning plan. For example: If you truly want to start conversing in the new language, then just memorizing a few phrases is not useful.
    • How much time do you want to spend each day?
      This is less of a question and more of a check point – plan to spend some time each day. Learning a new language requires continuity. Having bouts of learning followed by long breaks causes loss in efficiency.

     

  2. Get the essentials right
    Memorizing a few phrases seems easy, but unless your purpose is just getting through a couple of days in a foreign country, just knowing a few phrases doesn’t help.
    So, get some essentials right. It might seem easier to start at the wrong footing but in the long run undo-ing all the ‘memorization’ techniques will take much longer than starting with the right base from the beginning :)

    • Know the grammar essentials to compose simple sentences yourself. ‘Maria want juice’ may communicate your purpose but sounds pretty unintelligent!
    • Learn basic pronunciation peculiarities – Knowing all pronunciation DOs and DON’Ts takes time, but get some peculiarities right from the start. You don’t want to be wishing ¡Hola! as H-O-L-A in Spain :)

     

  3. Listen-Read-Write…Speak!
    Alright, so now you have started your journey right…Great! The next step is to apply the learning in all possible forms – so listen, read, write, and speak!

    • Listen – Rather than reading from a book and decrypting pronunciation – just grab some audio lessons and hear the pronunciations! Include listening in your practice schedule – solve at least a few listening based questions every time you practice!
    • Write – Now you may question, I only want to learn how to speak the new language why should I write? Well, writing is different from ‘scripting’. Just ensure that your practice has some modules on listening and writing – you will catch so many of those small peculiarities while you write – something that are almost impossible in other forms of practice.
    • Read – Comprehension practice is another great way to see the essentials being put to use. When you read real-life examples and the usage of the words in context, you automatically build your vocabulary. Mugging up 1000 words is easy but it is just as easy to forget them. Hence, learning with context is very important.
    • And of-course speak! Speak, practice, make your mistakes and learn from them.

     

  4. Let it flow with your life
    As we said earlier, while dedicated effort is important, let language learning flow with your daily life.

    • Next time, try making your grocery list in the new language
    • Pick up some music in the new language
    • Watch a short movie
    • Try reading a news clipping
    • Talk to natives
    • Go to a restaurant that serves the local food

    Slowly, let the new language become a part of your routine and you’ll see how it grows on

  5. Embrace the culture!
    We cannot emphasize enough on the importance of understanding the new culture. If you are going to be living in or traveling to a new country or even conversing with natives – knowing a little bit about the culture will go a long way!
    Greeting norms, gifting norms, heritage, music, dance, movies – there is so much to know and why shouldn’t you!

So get on to the cultural voyage, pick up a new language and do it right!