Getting Your Head Around A New Language

Learning a new language can be a daunting task. Children usually learn a second language easily, before the age of ten, but as we age, our brains are often less flexible. We have our categories of knowledge already partitioned off, and it’s hard to cross over with new learning. Languages present a particularly difficult proposition in part because they not only require intellectual knowledge, but physical discipline in the formation of words and syllables, but in auditory learning, as well. Some people find that they can understand the words and phrases of a different language, but are no good at pronouncing them, no matter how hard they try. These pointers may help you in learning a new language.

Take Small Bites


You don’t eat a sandwich in one bite and you don’t learn a language all at once. Start with a basic vocabulary, and use it every day. As you gain confidence, start working on the grammatical aspects of the language. Languages slot together in your head like a nest of tables – you start with the smallest one, and it leads to the next level. Each new skill slides neatly within the one before it, gradually building your proficiency.

Make it Part of Your Life

As you incorporate your new vocabulary words into your language, you’ll become more comfortable with them. Building onto the sentence structures and grammar follow. If you make all of this part of your daily life, it becomes almost second nature. You can do obvious things like labeling things in your house with the new language. Watch movies and TV shows in the language you are studying, listening for phrases and words you have learned. This will help your auditory learning and pronunciation. It also helps comprehension.

It’s not always possible to have a friend who speaks the language naturally to practice with. But, you can talk to yourself! Act as if you are explaining daily activities to someone who does not speak English. Give yourself directions to the dairy aisle at the grocery store, or describe how to open a checking account to yourself – just use the language you are trying to learn. You’ll find your strengths in your new language, and your weaknesses as well.

Read and Watch


Many people have learned to speak English by watching TV shows. You can do the same with your new language. You can also learn a log about sentence structure and grammar by reading children’s books in the language you are learning. These books are written to teach inexperienced people how to read, and they can be used to teach you the language, as well.

Use the Computer

There are language programs on the internet that can help you learn the language. You can also find educational games on the internet, and can even find Skype or FaceTime pals who will work with you to refine your conversation.

Most people appreciate it when you are trying to learn their language. Have a sense of humor, and enjoy the process.

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