There are roughly
6,500 different spoken languages in the world, and of this number, over 500
languages are spoken in Nigeria. How many of this number do you speak to a
considerable degree? Whatever the number, odds are that you still want to learn
another language at least. However, despite the interest shown by most to do
this, they end up quitting after a short trial.
Learning a new language can be extremely difficult, especially for adults. Countless research hours have gone into attempting to pinpoint the age when new language acquisition is easiest and the reason for the supposed decline of this skill. While the conclusions and derived hypotheses differ from one study to another, one fact has been established: pre-teens and teenagers have a greater propensity to pick up a new language easily than for adults. The reasons for this are inconclusive. However difficult it might seem, learning a new language is not impossible. Quite a considerable number of adults have successfully picked up new languages. It ends up being extremely beneficial if you can speak more than one language.
There are a few tips
you can apply that would help you in your quest to learn a new language:
- Set goals: The first step is to set goals that you want to achieve over a reasonable period. This helps give you the motivation to go on as well as giving you a direction in which to focus. Make sure that these goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, in other words, a SMART goal. This would ease unnecessary pressure.
- Connect with a native speaker: Speaking a language is the best way to learn it. Speaking with a real, live person may make you feel much more psyched about learning the new language. Try to find a friend or a colleague who speaks the language and is willing to help you practice. If you cannot find anyone around to help you, you can check on online social media platforms, Skype for instance, for someone who could assist you.
- Build your vocabulary: Languages are usually made up of tons of words. For instance, English Language has between 600,000 and 1,000,000 words. However, you may not need to learn that many words. Consider: The top 100 words in English make up about 50% of English Language texts while the top 1,000 make up about 90%. Be sure to select carefully the words you add to your vocabulary so as not to add unnecessary words depending on your reason for learning the new language.
- Study daily: Learning a new language is based on repetition, hammering something into your brain over and over again until you remember it. If you break too long between study sessions, you are more prone to forget what you learned the last time, thus making you waste valuable time going over what you have learned before. So get a regular pattern, preferably a daily routine. There is no short cut to learning a new language.
- Immerse yourself in the new language: This requires you to do most things you would ordinarily do in your local language in the new language you are learning. This includes reading, writing, watching shows and movies, and listening to radio programmes in the language. You can also change your language settings on your mobile/electronic devices. Take care to always check the meaning of any word you are not sure about.
- Work on your pronunciation: There is no point in learning new words if you pronounce them oddly such that they are incomprehensible. So it is important that you learn the correct pronunciations. You can work on this with a native speaker of the language or via recordings or/and videos. Make sure to pronounce the words out loud an order to enunciate properly.
- Study smart: To learn faster, you should use the very best study techniques. It depends on you to pick the technique that is best suited to your comprehension levels. Some techniques that you can incorporate into your study sessions include using flashcards, gesture, visualizing and vocalizing, and other language learning software and apps. Some language learning apps include Anki, Duolingo, Memrise, FluentU, etc. Utilize the language dictionary to the fullest also.
Note that it can get
discouraging at times during the learning procedure, especially when you make
mistakes. But do not be put off by this. You should not aim for perfection;
instead aim for progress. Making mistakes and learning from them will help you