Wednesday, April 27, 2016

SΩ17 - The Lingu Leap

Why should you learn a second language? We are in an era of globalization. Whether you like it or not, chances are you will meet people from other countries during your daily life, your studies, or work. With English you can communicate with ~14% of the global population or about 1 billion people (see below). However, if you learn one or more languages you’ll be able to communicate with 1 out of every 3rd people you meet! Furthermore, you’re perspective and knowledge of the world will expand greatly.

Why My Experience Is Relevant?
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to start learning another language! If you are indeed interested, you’ll find a guide below of how I suggest you learn any language. Before I do that, I’d like to briefly share my experience with languages. So far I’ve learned 4 languages, yet am only able to use 3 of them. Currently, I’m learning my 4th language (Chinese). Now the reason I mention this, is because my success has varied significantly!  Below you can see a chart with details.

Additionally, I’ve been giving private English lessons for over a year now! From my experience it got me thinking, how do we as children learn a language? Below you’ll see the rough process I’ve thought up.

Think about a child, they often say words, which they rarely know the meaning of (mimicking)! Furthermore, they make mistakes left & right, yet still continue speaking. So why do many language courses put such an emphasis on grammar & using the language ‘correctly’? This often discourages students and they stop learning the language. Let’s flip that around & encourage language learners to speak confidently first & then focus on the ‘visual’ side of the language.

How to Learn any Language?
From my experience with languages thus far, I developed this method (below) to learning any language. Try it and adjust it to your liking. Of course everyone learns a bit differently!

Finally, I’ll offer 3 tips to learning any language:
1) Practice makes perfect
To excel at a skill requires practice. How you do that is your choice, yet socializing tends to offer a nice motivation boost. Ideally try living abroad! Otherwise, find a language partner in person or online.
2) Jump right in, make mistakes, and keep learning
As mentioned before, children make mistakes, so you can too! Also it takes years for you to learn your first language, so why should the second language be any different?
3) Have fun!
Most likely if you have fun while learning you’ll progress quicker!  Listen to music or watch videos in the language that you’re learning. Get excited even if you understand a few words!

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