Have you ever dreamed of being able to woo somebody with your words in another language? If being bilingual is something you have frequently dreamt about, you may decide to embark on a journey to learning a foreign language.
While the journey at a glance may seem like a thrill with new found knowledge at every corner, and conversations in another language in no time, there are plenty of challenges that await you along the way.
Here are a few tips on how to take the plunge into learning a foreign language without fail:
Choose a language that has meaning to you
First and foremost, you have to want to learn the language. Whether you are learning Mandarin (Chinese) because of a new business deal your company landed overseas, or you are learning Finnish because that is where your grandma is from, learn a language you care about. This will keep you interested in the practice for longer, and give you hope when you get frustrated and start beating yourself up over not being able to remember whether the verb comes before the adjective in the sentence structure.
Dedicate time every day to study
Learning a language not only takes time but it takes diligence. To understand the patterns and sentence structures that differ from your native language takes daily practice so it can become ingrained in your mind. Once you have set your goal for yourself to become fluent in another tongue, set aside study time each and every day to truly dedicate yourself to your new project.
Speak with natives as often as possible
Immersion is the best way to learn another language. This, you have probably been told multiple times. However, immersion is rarely possible. After all, moving to another country is a challenge in and of itself and most countries will not let you in simply to immerse yourself in their language. Instead, find the next best thing. Locate clubs in your city filled with native speakers and attend meetings. Speak with these people and practice as much as possible. Chances are, they will love sharing with you in the gift of gab in their native tongue. One thing foreigners miss most is speaking in the language that comes easiest to them. So reach out and make a connection with a native speaker so you can get as close to immersion as possible.
Get to know the culture
Linguistics is so closely tied in to cultural heritage. Understanding the culture will give better insight as to why they have certain expressions, or what words that really cannot be translated actually mean. For example, in Danish there is an expression called ‘Hygge’. While it is translated as ‘Cozy’, the only people who truly understand what that word means are the Danes, or people who have lived or stayed in Denmark long enough to actually have the feeling the word is describing to know exactly what it means. Each culture has small terms or expressions like this. Getting know the culture will open up the reasoning behind these words making them easier to remember and feel as you speak.
Be patient with yourself
When you are ready to learn, go into it understanding that absorbing another language to the point where you are dreaming and thinking in foreign tones comes over a long period of time and lots of practice. Be patient as you take it on. If there is a particular subject that trips you up, study it, then study it again. Eventually you will surprise yourself with how easily it will come, but in the meantime, keep at it until your head hurts as you struggle through frustration of not being able to find the right words.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tess Pajaron is part of the team behind OpenColleges. Aside from her Filipino tongue, she knows how to speak English, Spanish and Japanese and hopes to learn French and Russian. She can be also seen on her social media profile at Google+.