Tips on Easy Language Mastery
Numerous differences characterize the world we live in. That is precisely its beauty and harmony. Language is one of the trademarks of every nation. Some research shows there are currently about 3,000 different languages spoken in the world.
The multicultural world around you has probably ‘forced’ you to acquire, understand, or use foreign languages daily. That is why kids generally start learning them from a very early age because the adoption of any new knowledge is at the highest level then. That doesn’t mean you should give up learning once you grow up.
Although learning or perfecting any foreign language is more difficult when you are an adult, there are many ways to ease this trouble. You can read about the reasons behind learning difficulties in adult age on this page.
Methods for mastering, or a good portion of them, can be applied to any language you plan to learn or improve, no matter how grammatically and semantically demanding it may be. You don’t have to adhere to them all; just find those that suit you best.
Don’t Think of Learning as an Obligation
Knowledge of one of the ‘world’ languages has become an almost obligatory skill to have in your CV. This large group of only a few languages (English, Spanish, French, Chinese, etc.) is spoken in much of the world. If you have a basic understanding of any of them, you are at a great advantage.
It’s desirable to have at least some knowledge before you need this skill. For example, suppose you know that the company you have just been employed cooperates with foreigners. In that case, you should know some basics and improve them gradually. If you are striving for a promotion, being a polyglot can be a springboard for you.
But you mustn’t think of learning as an obligation. Set your mindskill and think further into the future. What if you get a better and well-paid job where you would use this language every day? Or you get a business opportunity in a country where that language is spoken? Then this skill can be of utmost importance to you.
Learning from mistakes is a mantra everyone should follow. It refers to language mastery too. You may mispronounce one word five times. The sixth time, the native speaker will correct you, and you will know how to say it right in the future. But if you hadn’t said that word wrong, you wouldn’t have learned to pronounce it correctly either.
If you have the chance to speak with natives or those who have already mastered a particular language, go for it. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to say something wrong. That’s the point – to get a sense of conversation. Corrections will come later.
Still, it’s not advisable to have this much freedom in business conversations or meetings. If you already have to speak in a foreign language, but you’re not sure in your skills, emphasize that you have not yet mastered it. Apologize in advance for mistakes. In case of important negotiations or meetings, hire an interpreter anyway.
Keep It Simple
When learning a new language, you first start with the basics such as some simple words, the most commonly used verbs, interrogative and possessive pronouns, and even some simple expressions. These are something you need for almost any conversation, at least on some basic level. Keep in mind that word count and fluency are not mutually conditioned.
These basics will give you a firm footing to master your linguistic skills. Suppose you’ve improved them because you are going on holiday to a speaking country. In that case, you can try to start a simple conversation with locals (not just ask for directions). Even if you make mistakes, remember to learn from them.
Simple conversations can also help you when you use the language for business purposes. Keep your talk as short and concise as possible. You will not perfect your language by learning a dozen expert terms by heart, but you not knowing how to use them in a sentence.
Grammar Is Not the Most Important
Unless you are in school and have a test tomorrow, you shouldn’t focus on grammar to help you master linguistic skills. Numerous studies show that the school way of learning a foreign language is less successful than the ‘relaxed’ way.
The reason for this is a misrepresentation of grammar they learned in school. Teachers imposed it as something that must be known if you want a good grade. Another ‘culprit’ can be a wrong teaching concept, which probably was boring, without too much conversation.
Aside from fear, another ‘obstacle’ is too much thinking and searching for a sense. Suppose you are learning grammar, but you don’t understand why, for example, you use a particular verb form. In most cases, you will interrupt further learning to find the answer to this question. And you will probably forget what you have learned so far.
Simply put, adults overthink as they learn. For language mastery, vocabulary is more important than grammar. The advice is to work more on the fond of words (and learn when to use them) and to have basic grammar skills. There is no need to learn some ‘theoretical’ knowledge that most native speakers don’t know about. Focus on spoken language.
Language skills should be learned as early as possible. As you get older, your brain becomes less adaptable to new knowledge. That is especially noticeable in the word pronunciation and accentuation, which become more challenging to learn (but not impossible).
You also make a big mistake if you learn by reading, not listening. Acquiring words from different dictionaries makes everything harder. If you enrolled in linguistic school, you’ve learned from books without the real opportunity to speak in front of native speakers. Unless your tutor is a native, there’s no one to help you understand and pronounce certain words correctly. That is why you should listen to people who speak a particular language.
Take Advantage of Audio and Video Content
If you are unable to meet native speakers in person, take advantage of music and movies. Watch series without translation, or better yet, include a titled translation, but in that language. That way, you will know which word actors are pronouncing.
Also, listen to music whenever you can and when that doesn’t disturb your work or study. Find a melody that gets into your ear quickly. Singable songs are way easier to remember and learn new words from them. Make a private karaoke party. Put some music on, and sing, trying to pronounce and accentuate lyrics as correct as possible.
Repeat after Repeat
Repetition of what has been learned is the best way to remember the material and to find ‘holes’ in it. If you are learning through a course or online lesson, give yourself homework to repeat what you wrote (even if you have to rewrite). Or, if you have audio classes, repeat what you heard.
If you are learning or mastering a new language on your own, try to focus on some narrow topics. Experts from http://www.languagethrone.com explain that, when you are into something that you find interesting, your brain is more engaged.
For example, you are interested in sports. So imagine discussing your favorite sports activities, players, games, and so on with native speakers. What would you tell them? Come up with some imaginary dialog and repeat it until new words and sentences are inscribed in your memory.
Get to Know the Culture
Learning is the way your brain processes all information. The critical element of acquiring new knowledge is the way you perceive it. If you see it as something boring, you’ll have much trouble memorizing it. But if you turn learning into fun, everything will go smoothly. So you have to think of making ‘boring’ material interesting and easy to remember.
One of the best ways to enrich your vocabulary and language skills is to be open to new experiences. It means that you are ready to discover something about the culture of the people who speak that language, to try their specialties, to learn about their history and art, and so on.
Being ready for new experiences is one of the main aspects of your personality and an essential part of the learning process. Besides culture, you should be more open to people. If you can’t get in touch with native speakers in person, rely on the benefits of the Internet and social networks. Be open to online friendships, as long as they don’t endanger your personality and safety.
Reset Your Mind
The stage when you catch yourself thinking in a foreign language means that you are one step closer to mastering that language. Your flow of thought doesn’t need perfect grammar or a correct accent. It is important to understand how you formulated the sentence in your head and how it sounds to you.
To get to this level, you have to ‘force’ yourself to think in a foreign language. It takes a little practice and concentration, and soon your brain will be reset. You can help yourself by placing sticky notes on some key items and describe them in that language. Or write yourself some motivational messages, lyrics, or reminders.
Another way to ‘make’ your brain think in a foreign language is to talk to yourself. Stand in front of a mirror and talk to the reflection. Don’t let it be some random words; make a speech, and let it be loud. That will give you more confidence and a desire to work on your linguistic skills.
Change the language on your phone and laptop. That will make you learn some more technical terms that are in use daily. But just in case, write down how to restore the settings. Make a to-do or shopping list in a foreign language. These are all the little things on which you can hone your linguistic skills.
Perseverance is the Key
Excuses for not having language proficiency are mostly a lack of time, motivation, or talent. None of this has to be a problem. The trick is to set priorities and the angle from which you look at your linguistic skills and their further use.
For some, language knowledge is a waste of time; for others, it’s a useful skill to help them in many spheres of life. The ability to speak in a foreign language can bring success in your career, easier navigation abroad, knowledge of different cultures, and many other benefits.
Don’t think that you always need money to start learning or mastering your linguistic skills. Not even the best and most expensive school or language course will make you a polyglot if you don’t want to. The point is to be persistent and see language learning as a means, not an end or purpose. So you will learn to apply it in the best way and to get the most of it.
Adults generally don’t have time to learn a language because they are bored and have nothing else to do. When they need to adopt or perfect a linguistic skill, they should do so with some intention or realistic goal.
For example, in a couple of months, you go on vacation to a country whose language you know, but only superficially. You can set a goal to work on your knowledge by then. In those few months, you should also practice what you’ve learned so far. Make the goals real, and keep track of what you’ve learned so far.
No matter what language you plan to master, be realistic in your expectations. Use all available means of learning, but don’t force yourself, because it will have the opposite effect. Acquiring new knowledge should be enjoyable, so you need to know when the brain has to work and when it’s time to rest. By applying the described methods, you will make learning less strenuous and more fun.