Learning a new language is something which is high on many people’s to-do list. In fact, after losing weight and giving up chocolate, it’s often one of the most popular New Year
resolutions. Why then, if so many of us want to learn a new language, do so few of us actually follow through on this desire?
Well for one thing, fear could play a large part. Learning a new language is a very daunting prospect, especially if you are starting from scratch. Helpfully, though, there are a number of little tricks out there that will make the whole process that much easier. These tips are all tried and tested by people who have successfully learnt a new language – often more than one in fact!
Firstly, the traditional (and, yes, most obvious) tip: take some classes. Learning within a group is simply a fantastic way to study a new language. Not only will you receive a formal introduction to all the essentials, but you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people, share the experience of learning, and perhaps even make life-long friends in the process.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this to your language development. The pure enjoyment of your learning experience can play a huge role in your motivation to continue with your studies, not to mention the extra chance it gives you to put your newfound skills into practice. English courses in London are especially beneficial in this respect – you’ll be learning in a native-English environment, meeting people from all over the world, and will have tons of opportunity to talk, listen, read and write.
Whether it’s regularly reading a favourite magazine or website in the language your studying, repeating tongue twisters and difficult sounds that don’t exist in your own language, or having made up conversations in your head while you’re going about your daily activities, you should be on the constant lookout for opportunities to practise all the various skills, vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation that you need to develop in order to learn a language.
Talk to People
Speaking of practice, if you can find a native of the country whose language you wish to learn, then take every advantage of all your interactions.
Learning Italian? Then keep your eye out for Italians! Years ago, I had the good fortune to work with two Italians in my office while I was learning the language. Every day I would greet them in Italian, and every coffee break we would converse in (halting) Italian, with my (very kind and patient) colleagues helpfully correcting me every now and then with my pronunciation.
Just like talking to people, immersing yourself into the culture that supports the language you are learning will really help you to make rapid strides. All modern languages after all, are living languages. They are spoken in communities, they evolve with age and there are often visual nuances that are impossible to teach in a book or an audio recording.
For example, by studying English in London, you’ll learn all those extras that support our everyday communication – idiomatic expressions, cultural references, body language, humour…. the list goes on. Living in an environment where you are surrounded by the language you’re learning is a wonderful way to develop your skills and understanding.