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Even if you’re totally excited about this new language learning journey you’ve embarked on, at some point or another chances are studying this new language is going to feel like a chore.
My best piece of advice is to find ways to incorporate your studies into things you’re already interested in.
Movies are a really good tool, especially if you can find subtitles in the language you’re learning as well. The subtitles annoyingly don’t always exactly match what’s being said, but it will still keep your brain listening and reading in the same language.
Music is another way to start listening to things in your new language. Personally, I’m so bad at understanding lyrics even in English so this one doesn’t really work for me, but I have friends who swear by learning languages through local artists so I guess it’s a thing.
Games are of course also an excellent way of studying a new language! A lot of language learning computer programs include games. I’m super competitive and if I play any game I can be hooked for hours – hours well spent if it means I’m studying a language!
Seriously though, there’s nothing like starting a new language and learning how to actually say stuff! It’s such a rush and totally addicting, which I think has actually pushed me to begin a whole lot more languages than I know I’ll ever actually learn – I’m looking at you, Tibetan.
This also means that it’s totally worth spending a few weeks studying a language before a trip somewhere because even if you know you’ll never pursue the language when you come back home, the learning process is going to be fun and likely make your trip a lot more interesting as well.
Obviously, this one is going to be hard if you only know like, 20 words in this new language, but get used to expressing everything you possibly can with those few words you do have. It’s really, really hard to translate directly between two languages, especially if they’re totally unrelated, and it can lead to really awkward and unnatural sentences.
I think this is also a big reason each new language becomes easier to learn – we get better and better at communicating with a very limited number of words and kind of just going with conversations where we only understand a portion of what’s being said.
It can be really tempting to only play to your strengths when studying a language. So if you’re good at memorizing vocabulary, then you might want to spend all day doing that, or if you’re really good with accents you’ll focus on mastering that before you even have any grammar down.
The thing is, the stuff you’re good at is going to improve quite naturally, so you don’t need to worry too much about it. And if you focus too much on one aspect of a language, then you might actually end up hurting your progress.
I really love grammar, but I usually actively force myself to ignore it when I’m speaking because otherwise, I’m going to get way too caught up in tiny details that most people won’t even notice.
It’s amazing how much of a language you can learn in just a few days. It’s also amazing how much you can forget in just a few days.
Language learning is one of those things where it’s much better to do a little each day instead of a lot every once in a while. You’ll learn way more if you spend 30 minutes studying every day rather than say, 8 hours once a week.
There’s a reason people who have studied one or two foreign languages tend to then go on to study even more languages. I think it’s a really helpful thing to keep in mind because it means finally trying to learn a new language not only means opening up a new world in that particular language, but also a whole world of new languages to learn.
The benefits of taking an ESL course are clear. By improving your English skills you gain better access to education, a better earning potential, greater community integration and even better results from healthcare. We here at Northwest Career College are committed to enhancing our student’s lives, which is why we are proud to offer our ESL courses free of charge to our students and to extend that offer to their families, friends and all members of the community.
Our seasoned language teachers are experienced in working with international students from all over the world and are there to help you get the most from your classes. To help your lessons fit in with your work and home life we also offer day and weekend classes. If you are interested in taking advantage of this excellent opportunity then call one of our ESL enrollment counselors today on (702) 403-1592.
Fernando Herbert, B.A.
Spanish Language Consultant