Is Rocket Science Easier than Learning a New Language?
5 simple rules to learning any new language
Have you ever felt like learning a new language can sometimes feel harder than rocket-science? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one!
Let’s try to paint a picture:
You’re out traveling, exploring the world. You hop on a boat for a day-cruise around the Greek islands, or maybe a nice safari in Kenya taking in the wildlife. You snap a few pictures here and there, take a lunch break, and then you wonder where the bathroom is. Uh oh! How do you ask “where’s the bathroom” in Greek?
No Wi-Fi on the boat, and definitely none on an African safari. So, what do you do? If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself trying to explain with hand signals while the tour guides sound like they’re just speaking gibberish.
You might feel like learning their language is impossible, but if you were stuck in a similar situation you needn’t worry, because that’s all about to change. You can indeed learn and speak any language with these five simple rules:
1- Make mistakes and watch TV
The first problem most people face is fearing to pronounce a word wrong, or say a word that they have no idea what it means. The fact is, you actually need to make mistakes, over and over. It’s by far the only way you’ll learn to pronounce words correctly and form proper sentences. To help yourself even better, all you need to do is watch television shows or programs that are in the language you’re trying to learn. You’ll be surprised how easier it becomes day by day.
2- Be patient and grab a book
Yes yes. It’s a cliché thing to say, but truth be told, it applies to everything; especially learning a new language. You cannot expect yourself to learn a whole new alphabet, vocabulary, and grammar techniques in just a few months. You need to pace yourself, practice, and never give up. So, grab a book and start learning how they spell words and what they mean.
3- Scrap the alphabet and download an app
That’s right, you need to accept that not everything you read is pronounced the way you say it in English. For example: “REAL” is pronounced “ri-l” in English, where as “REAL” in Brazil is pronounced “re-yal”, and it’s their national currency. Some languages have letters that don’t exist in the English alphabet and could even be super hard to pronounce. Arabic, for example, is one of those languages. This however is probably the most fun step to take towards learning a new language. There are tons of apps you can download on your smartphone that help you learn and pronounce words and phrases.
4- Find a buddy
Nothing is more difficult than trying to go at it alone. That’s not to say it’s not doable. Many have, and you could too. But having someone practice it with you could speed up the process. So grab a friend, pick a language you both like, and start learning their common words and phrases, maybe even the way they pronounce their cities. If you have someone who already knows the language is even more helpful, as they will correct you and help you every step of the way.
5- Finally, practice… practice… practice…
Books alone are not enough, not even TV. You need to practice speaking the language in order to learn it best. So, if you’re trying to learn Spanish, start getting into the habit of replacing words and phrases you usually use: like “thank you” or “sorry” with “gracias” and “lo siento”. Again, don’t worry about how they’re properly pronounced, you’ll soon get the hang of it.
That’s all you need to do. Actually, there’s just one more thing to add, something very important:
Learning a new language is not a sprint, it’s a marathon… Don’t rush it!
It’s a liberating feeling when you don’t need hand signals for some basic communication. Even if you weren’t traveling anywhere, another language is a great asset to have.