Learning a second language has many cognitive benefits. For example, it has been shown to delay Alzheimer’s, boost brainpower, reduce cognitive biases, and even increase concentration and the ability to tune out distractions. But, more so than cognitive effects, the ability to speak a second language has a ton of social benefits. There’s bliss in having the ability to order food in the waiter’s native language, to eavesdrop on people in an elevator, or to impress natives by speaking with and understanding them.
The challenge isn’t in learning a new language, but rather learning how to learn a language. Once you know the techniques, you’ll be able to apply the same grammatical patterns and language techniques in every new language you learn. Here are few tips for learning a new language :
- Commit to memorising the 100-200 most common words of the language and basic grammar structure. Once you have that knowledge, you are ready to start improving your skills through real-life practice.
- To get a jumpstart on memorising new vocabulary, know your cognates – words that are the same or similar as your native language.
- Engage in real life conversations and interactions with native speakers as much as possible.
- Take advantage of web-based tools/apps so you can always build on your language proficiency.
- If active immersion in the language with nature speakers isn’t possible, passively immerse yourself by listening to audio, watching movies and reading articles/books in the language.
- For difficult grammar structures/vocabulary, say the phrase out loud simultaneously while writing it. Do this often!
- Instead of taking a class, do one-on-one tutoring. Find a tutor in your area or find an online teacher.
- Install an app which translates random words.