So you’re thinking about learning a new language? Maybe you have been thinking about it for a while now, but haven’t had the confidence to make that move?
Below are some tips that can help you in the right direction and hopefully start you off on a fantastic journey of discovery that will enhance your life, improve your work prospects and give you pleasure.
1. Give some real thought to which language you are going to learn. This is because you have to invest real time and a lot of effort into learning a new language. Having an aim will help keep you going when learning at times becomes difficult.
2.What’s your purpose for learning a new language? Travel and holidays? Work purposes and demands? Do you want to know about a certain culture? Are you learning as a hobby or passtime? There is always a purpose or an aim for learning. Think also about where you can use the language. Spanish can be spoken widely and is a useful language whereas Italian is only spoken in Italy. French is spoken in France of course, but also in some parts of Africa, in Canada, Belgium etc.
3. Make sure you can devote the time to your chosen language. This may sound obvious, but often people start out cheerfully on the task, often doing well, but then realise that they can’t devote either the amount of time needed to succeed, or even just make the weekly slot because of other demands on their time like work or family. Give some thought beforehand to calculating your free time and any other demands on your time before committing to language learning. It’s a long haul and if you’re serious about learning, you’ll need the time to devote to it!
4. When you know you can devote yourself to your chosen language now is the time to decide how you want to learn. Do you want one-to-one language tuition or is the dynamic of a group classroom more your thing? Would you like the convenience of Skype internet learning or an on-line course? Whichever you choose, it will have to be right for you. Changes made a little way into your course can be inconvenient and expensive.
5. Prepare a space for yourself where you can study, keep your materials, dictionary etc and do your homework in peace and quiet, away from other distractions. Learning a language – especially if you’re new to it – can be demanding, and trying to study whilst half-watching T.V., dealing with the kids, being disctracted by other things like the dog begging for his walk, etc can seriously undermine your conviction to study. You need a space where for that study time, you can be undisturbed.
6. When all the above has been addressed and you are ready to start, buy and prepare your language study materials. Often your tutor or course will have given you recommendations. Usually, you will only need a folder, pen, notebook for vocabulary and of course a good dictionary. Sometimes, you will be asked to buy a Grammar in the language you are studying, and this is a very good idea. You can of course opt to use an on-line dictionary – it doesn’t matter what medium it is, provided you always have access to it. On occasions, you may be asked to buy the course book you are going to be using. Starting language study is not usually an expensive prospect once you have paid for your course, and what you pay in all, is reasonable when you take into account the work gone into preparing your course.
So now you’re good to go! Enjoy your language learning adventure and here’s hoping it’s just the start of your language learning odyssey for years to come.
Bye for now