The goal of studying a foreign language might be a night for some people, while some people sail fluently through the language like it is their native one. Still, when we compare a linguistic environment and language learning possibilities at the beginning of the 21st century, and now some 20 years after, the advancement is huge in every aspect of studying the foreign language. Today, we have a lot of ways to learn – free applications for mobile phones like Duolingo, online courses that are really cheap, free communication with people that speak the foreign/target language and many other ways. Also, the possibility to communicate literally with everyone really increases the chances for success in learning it.
Thanks to technology, you can study at least some useful phrases of a language very quickly, before you move on to the more complex things.
How do we learn?
You remember when you were a kid how easily you could memorize a phone number, a word or a sing that you heard on the radio. That is because your brain simply “copies” what it observed. Unlike kids, the older population packs a lot of things in the brains, which prevents and slows it down from learning additional things. Not that you cannot learn, it simply takes more time to adapt a certain word or a pattern for structuring the sentences. That is why kids can easily remember the words and use them to form sentences and progress faster than any adult.
Our brain picks up the bits and pieces through accumulating the vocabulary and forming the sentences using the previously heard ones, and therefore, these are the main source for studying. When we are kids, our brains do not “overanalyze” things, and for that reason, kids study the much easier language. The adults use the “analyzing” part of the brain to analyze sentences, grammar, and words, which does not produce good results. Literally, the adult brain learns a language as an object (like we study history, and we remember the dates chronologically) and therefore we can describe it and all the rules, but the actual use of it is minimalized. This means that we should not analyze things too much as that distracts us from the actual use of the words, expressions, and actually forming the sentences.
Are some languages similar?
Of course, there are some languages that are similar like English and German, for example, although they are different in the same amount as they are similar. On the other hand, if you learn one and you are having a problem with learning the other one, even if they are similar, this has nothing to do with our personal opinions and wishes. It is rather a matter of neurological preferences and how we perceive our native language. This means that your native language directs, in some way, the speed of progress and learning the foreign one. Every time we learn a new one, we tend to use our native one as the base.
The richer our native language is in the sense of morphology, it will be easier for us to study the target language. Every new word we are trying to learn, we find the equivalent in our language, and we study it with the retrospective of our language. Sometimes we use the native one too much, and the analogy of it can ruin the structure of the target language, as the analogies are different. So, as long as it is good to use it as the foundation, we must be aware that some things are simply different and we have to use to it. So, pretty much all languages are similar, except some have totally different rules for writing, reading and structuring the words inside the sentence, but in overall, for each one we learn, we use our native tongue for the foundation.
Still, each language is the story for itself, and every way of studying must be structured. For example, a popular platform Rosetta Stone application starts with learning the basic words just by hearing a native speaker and watching the images. This creates the connections in our brains between images and terms in two different languages. Thus, we could say that they are similar at some point since there is always a reference you can use to memorize words.
The easy ways to learn foreign languages.
There are many ways you could research the language, and it is just a matter of opinion. Some of them are easier some harder, but the point is that learning the foreign language is not difficult at all, as long as we have a wish for learning it. In case you are learning English, you can try out the writing jobs that some companies, like essay service PaperLeaf, offer to people who are not the native speakers of it, so you could practice a bit of writing. The most common ways include:
- Mobile and computer applications/software
- Communication with people who use the same language you are learning through social media
- Taking on the courses/individual lessons
- Using the images and general visualization for learning
- Spending time in the native language environment.
Some of these are more efficient than others, but if you have a will, passion, devotion, and time to learn, then any of these ways will be of great help to you. Still, the best way is to spend a summer or start studying in the country where the language is spoken, as the constant interaction is something that makes better connections between the native and target languages. This makes it a lot easier to learn it, especially while you are younger.
3 Tips for exploring and studying foreign languages effectively.
There are some tips that can greatly improve your overall knowledge, as well as progress in the learning process. As we said, in the end, it is all a matter of psychological preferences – some people learn easier German than Thai while being fluent in Arabic while they cannot learn and understand Spanish. However, if you are persistent enough, you can study any of these. So, you could use a few tips that really produce fantastic results.
1. Define your goals.
First and most important – know yourself and your goals. Are you learning because you simply like it and the culture behind it? Or you want to learn it for professional reasons? Believe it or not, this will help you a lot since you know where and what to focus on. If you learn for the business and professional reasons, you must set the realistic objects like you need to learn today several words from IT terminology or some business terminology that you cannot translate on Google Translate service. If you want to speak to your family, then learning is much more relaxed, you will learn more from communication with them, and you will memorize some of the most common words they use.
2. Get involved with the target language on a daily basis.
This is the best way to learn any language! When you are in constant communication, your brain simply switches to the target language after some time. The reason lies in the psychological factors, as you are aware that you are not able to speak your native one since no one would understand you. The brain starts using the patterns quicker and learns them easier, so it is often the case that people learn the language in less than a year. The more you spend in that environment, the faster and more efficiently your brain will use the target language as it simply gets used to the patterns, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
3. Do not be afraid of mistakes.
The worst thing that can happen is that you do not want to use the language as you are afraid of mistakes, incorrect tenses, and bad grammar. Forget about it and just talk and use the words as much as you can, even if the order of them is not perfect! The goal is to talk as much as you can, so your brain starts, even thinking in that language. Once you start thinking in the language you are learning, you could say that you have made a great success! Each mistake will be noted by the person you talk, but no one will mean any harm because of the incorrect verb or an article!