By: Ashley Tulio, Communications Specialist
While living during a worldwide pandemic, individuals have taken quarantine as an opportunity to learn a new skill such as cooking, sewing, at-home workouts, etc. Something else that many people have pursued is learning a new language. While kids tend to pick up new languages more easily compared to adults, a study has shown that learning a new language as an adult actually reroutes brain networks, igniting shifts that can have long-term implications on memory and cognitive function. Learning a new language is a way to help people stay sharp and mentally healthy through reshaping brain networks, improving global cognition, and increasing functional connectivity.
Here are some fun and interesting ways to learn a new language:
Meeting with a language partner, making new friends, or joining a conversation club with people who speak the language you want to learn! Practicing is imperative, thus interacting with other individuals who speak the language you are learning is extremely beneficial. A few online language learning community include: Fluent In 3 Months, Omniglot, Linguaholic, WordReference, and Unilang.
This method can help you memorize words more quickly and efficiently! Flashcards can be executed electronically or written to help intensity memory. An example of a great online tool would be Quizlet! This online platforms allows you to have unlimited flashcards, quizzes, and other learning tools for free! To make your own flashcards, you can also use cue cards! Flashcards work best when you allow them to test your memory, so make sure you guess the meaning of a word before turning over the card!
3) Immerse yourself by watching TV shows and movies
Fully immersing yourself and your surroundings can be extremely beneficial to help learn a language faster. You can even start watching children’s shows to understand and perfect the very basics of a language. This will help familiarize yourself with the sounds of the language, which have positive effects including, becoming accustomed to the language, identifying and understanding common words, and learning proper pronunciation.
4) Read books, newspapers and magazines
By reading interesting content, you can pick up vocabulary and grammar! When reading a book in another language, listening to an audiobook may help, as you follow along easier! Reading different types of writing styles can help you understand different types of terms.
5) Learning programs and applications
We live in a world where knowledge and information are at our fingertips! There are many websites and applications you can use to help test and utilize your skills! Examples of some online applications include: Memrise, Duolingo, Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone. With daily activities and quizzes, you can enhance your skills through these programs.
Tips and Tricks
While learning a new language, it is important to remember to go at your own pace. Here are some tips to help you during your journey!
- Implement specific and short-term goals so you do not feel overwhelmed. An example of this may include focusing on words, then ease into slowly picking up grammar.
- Consistency is key! Find a language habit that you can follow. This can be changing your phone settings, or even listening to music in the language you desire to learn.
- Use every opportunity to be exposed to the new language; this may include labeling objects in your house or reading a book in the language.
- While learning a new language, it is also important to learn about the culture and history of the language itself.
- An organized routine will make learning vocabulary and other important keywords more manageable. Examples would be categorizing words such as food, transportation, greetings, etc.
Don’t worry about making mistakes, it’s necessary to make them within the learning process.
For those who are already proficient in two languages, have you thought of becoming an interpreter or translator? Check out our courses for interpreter and translator training: