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A New Year’s resolution: to learn a foreign language

Did you know that half of the world’s population regularly speaks and uses at least one second language?[1] These are not only individuals who grew up in bilingual environments and whose parents come from different parts of the world, but also people who enjoy learning new languages and who, by improving their language skills, want both to make their personal or business trips easier and improve general knowledge.

Have you decided to learn a foreign language in 2018? Here are three tips to help you achieve your goal.

 

1.    Keep yourself motivated

Although the first steps might seem easy, everything, including mastering a foreign language, takes time, which is why you need to stay motivated in the long run. Find a way that will, each day, bring you closer to your goal of learning a language.

Here is an example: Purchasing an airline ticket for a September trip to Mexico is a good reason for you to learn Spanish.

Besides motivation, commitment to the pursued goal should also be considered. Only then will you truly be able to learn a new language and your learning will become more effective.

 

2.    Talk to yourself

This might sound funny, but it is of key importance to regularly use the language you are learning. If possible, find a study partner and use the foreign language with them whenever possible. If this is not feasible, you can simply talk to yourself to improve your communication skills. This way, you will be able to repeat the terminology and refresh your vocabulary, while also practising the use of grammar.

 

3.    Have fun

In many aspects, learning a new language can be perceived as the process of creation. This does not only entail learning phrases and grammar rules; you can try to translate a folk poem, which can be great fun, perhaps write a sketch in a foreign language or simply connect with people who are fluent in it.

Do not feel bad if you make a mistake during a conversation or when writing. Learning from one’s own mistakes is crucial when assimilating new knowledge. Brush them off with laughter and carry on learning.

 

Do not forget that you have to really give yourself over to learning a new language. Along with staying dedicated, try and replace phrases such as “I cannot” and I” do not know how to” with more positive ones, as for example “I have not learned that yet, but I soon will”.

Good luck!

 

 

[1] http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/archives/ebs/ebs_386_en.pdf

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