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Keys to Learning a New Language

Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.Most people agree that it pays to learn more than one language.  However, there are things you must consider if you want to be successful at learning a new language.

Of all the programs available to help you learn a new language, the most successful ones are those that immerse you into the language.  Immersion is one of the keys to learning a new language. It is an ambitious, but verified way of learning a second language.  Just consider this.  What is your first language and how did you learn it?  How often did you hear it spoken or see it written as you were learning it?

An immersion program for learning a second language is based on this example. When a person walks into a foreign language class, only the foreign language should be spoken inside that classroom. Participate and immerse yourself into the unknown language. By using the immersion method, you will gain more than just vocabulary and grammar.  Immersion puts a language into context. You will learn accents, idiomatic expressions and body language.  You will learn to think in your new language, and you won’t have to translate before speaking. Look for other ways to immerse yourself.  If you are learning Chinese, visit Chinatown! If you are learning Spanish, eat at a Mexican Restaurant and order in Spanish! If you are learning French, rent a movie that you’ve seen before and select French as the language. It has been observed and established that immersion is by far the best way to learn a language. The more time that you can immerse yourself into a new language, the better and faster you will learn it.

Another of the keys to learning a new language is to be consistent. You must take control! It is vital that you be present and accounted for if you expect to learn a new language. Learning a new language is like learning a new job.  At first you struggle, it takes energy trying to remember where everything is and how to use it. Still, as the days go by, it gets easier and easier. This also applies to learning a second language. It is a gathering process and your knowledge develops and builds on itself. I often have the opportunity to speak with foreign missionaries, and it amazes me when I meet one who has efficiently learned English as a second language.  Their grammar and their syntax are time and again immaculate! I know that here is someone who was consistent in their efforts to learn a new language.

Parents and educators who want children to be bilingual should start them at an early age because this is one of the keys to learning a new language. It is an imperative to their success that you do not wait until they are in high school to start teaching them a second language! It astounds me how quickly and happily a small child picks up new words in a foreign language. There is more self-confidence and little intimidation when a young child repeats words. Learning more than one language at a time allows a child them to see the languages side by side, increasing their understanding of both.

Mastering a language is a long and enjoyable process. You should relax and take pleasure in the new things you are learning.  Like all other things in life, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will learn from them and have a few laughs along the way!


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