Advice: Yes, You Can Learn a New Language!

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Duolingo language learning

I had this French teacher in high school who had a love for culture and languages. Living in Southern California most of my life, why I chose to learn French instead of Spanish–I’ll never know the answer to. However, I already had a knack for learning languages. I was always interested in learning new words, phrases, and when I got a little older, I learned sentences.

So this teacher (who I will not name although I’d like to give her a lot of credit) did not only teach me French but inspired me with learning new things and most especially foreign languages. She gave her students the chance to learn independently perhaps because she knows that we won’t be in high school forever to learn the language.

Here are few of my tips on how to be motivated in learning languages and a few good resources I’d like to share with you.

Just a few words…

For those who are currently starting to learn a new language, please don’t give up. If you’re having a hard time learning conjugations, spelling, vocabulary, or sentence construction–you will eventually arrive at that “ah-ha!” moment and you will feel very happy that everything seems to be clicking.

Granted that when I was in my teens, my brain must’ve been more elastic than how it is now. I remember memorizing vocabulary and simple phrases like “bien sûr,” or “comment allez-vous?” I thought all I had to do was memorize these phrases and words but you also have to love the process.

When we think about mathematics, your high school or college algebra teacher must’ve said “show your work.” It’s so that they can see your process of thinking. If you think about the process and the way you have arrived to construct a sentence, then you can see your thought process!

I keep going on YouTube to refresh my mind and to keep up with conjugations in the past, present, and future. Then, I try to write little sentences that I came up with on my own. I have it on my trusty BlackBerry (Yes, I have a BlackBerry).

I would say words aloud to myself. People must think I’m crazy if they ever heard me in the bathroom. But I gotta tell you, it seems to work!

Now, I’m trying to learn Spanish on my own which is somehow easier for me since the Filipino language is infused with some Spanish. It didn’t hurt that I have a background in learning French. So, it seems like I can speak a good amount of Spanish but of course, I’m still just getting there.

Here are some good tips that helped me!

  • Be interested in learning the language, be engaged with it
  • Grab a English-(Whatever Language) dictionary and get a Verb dictionary as well
  • Get on YouTube now and start searching. It seems to be easier when there’s a demonstration of things
  • Use Duolingo. I can vouch for this program, it really helps you! Once you try it, you actually might get addicted. Use the discussion boards as well.
  • Take a community college course if you have the time
  • Grab a notebook and write some thoughts in that language (if possible)
  • Google “how do you say ‘how much is it?’ in Spanish/French/German” check the answers, or engage with those people just to make sure that the translation is correct
  • Learn the language with a friend (take a class together, be accountable to each other) It’s like having a “work-out” buddy.

Resources

How have you been learning your new language? If you already learned languages, could you share your tips with us! I could sure use more advice and techniques! Please leave us a comment below.

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