If you have ever been the victim of a grammar Nazi or struggled to differentiate between it’s and its, then you would be aware that language learning can often feel tedious. Regardless of your reason for engaging in this brave pursuit, here are 6 benefits that you are likely to reap if you are learning a new language or planning to learn one:
1. It improves cognitive functions
Language learning is basically like cardio for your brain. Different parts of your brain are being put into use while switching between languages. You need to recall the right vocabulary, use the correct pronunciation or spelling, structure the sentence, and place it in the correct context. This improves your memory, decision-making skills, and critical thinking. Although this does not make your brain bulletproof to neurological diseases, it can delay the process. For instance, a study found that bilingualism delayed the onset of dementia by 4.5 years!
2. It can turn you into a pro-multitasker
Another advantage of putting your brain to use like this is that you can block out distractions more easily and can switch between tasks. Seems too far-fetched? We thought so too until we read this!
3. It can do wonders for your creativity
Have you ever found it hard to translate something from your native language into the one you are learning? A common way to deal with this is to describe the term using the words you already know in a foreign language. Language learning compels you to think of creative ways to deal with a problem and can improve divergent thinking.
4. It broadens your horizons
Learning a new language consists of more than merely learning the linguistics system. You will find yourself learning about the culture/s related to that language. This will not only show you the diversity in the world but can also help you in seeing things in a different light.
For instance, English has 11 words to describe colors whereas Tsimane has only 3. Some linguists believe this is because we create words to describe things we value and want to talk about. Since English-speaking countries are typically industrialised, they use a lot of artificially coloured objects. Therefore, they need more words for colors than a hunter-gathering society like Tsimane.
5. It increases employment opportunities
You probably guessed this. Although English may seem like the lingua-franca of the corporate world right now, the world is gradually making space for more languages. Depending on the industry you want to work in, you can unlock Pandora’s box of career opportunities by learning the language of your customers.
6. It can help in reducing stress and anxiety
This may seem counterintuitive given that you have to make a fool of yourself multiple times before you can speak fluently. However, multiple language learners bear testimony to the fact that language learning helps in dealing with stress. This could be attributed to many reasons such as being able to overcome the fear of failure, finding a like-minded community, and being able to immerse yourself in learning something new.
Now that you know that language learning can be a sweet affair, let’s learn about different ways of going about it.
How to learn a new language?
1. Make language learning a part of your everyday life
Rather than doing a language learning marathon out of guilt, turn it into a habit that you feel odd without doing. It can be as simple as listening to a short podcast or looking up a recipe in the language you are learning. You can also keep a journal, read news, or watch Netflix!
You can also integrate the language into your daily routine so that it’s impossible to avoid it completely. To begin with, you can change your phone’s language or follow relevant social media handles. This will help you learn actively and get you more accustomed to the language.
2. Find out what kind of a learner you are
While it is important to engage in all types of learning for a comprehensive understanding of the language, you may find one style to be more stimulating than others. For example, if you are a visual learner, you will have a better time learning from flashcards, comic books, children books, movies, or YouTube videos. If you are an aural learner, then you can make the most out of music, podcasts, and radio.
3. Find a community or language buddy
Being part of a community or finding a language partner can help you stay accountable and even push you to challenge yourself. If you can’t find fellow learners where you live, summon the power of the internet to find native speakers on sites like InterPals and My Language Exchange. You can also use Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit to participate in language learning challenges or to seek out advice.
4. Learn the words and phrases that match your language learning goals
You may want to learn a language for specific goals like getting a job, studying abroad, travelling, or communicating better with the love of your life. This means that you can’t go about it at a leisurely pace and must hold yourself accountable. Depending on your situation, determine the vocabulary you need to know and learn the nuances of the same. Remember to use them in the right context so that you know how to use them in real-life scenarios. You can have a weekly goal to stay on track and motivate yourself. This is also one of the most common techniques used by polyglots to learn a language fast.
5. Take a course
Enrolling in a course can help you in getting organised and making language learning a habit. It also comes with the advantage of someone correcting your mistakes which will help you progress faster. Internshala’s French Language training is a 6-week online training where beginners can learn French used in day-to-day scenarios like introducing oneself, going out, and renting a place.
Language learning tips from translators, teachers, and polyglots:
1. Content is king even when it comes to learning languages. Find interesting content in your target language so that you can keep at it even on your bad days. For example, gaming. There are tons of games that can help you in your language learning journey.
2. Listen to as much of the language as possible even if you don’t understand everything. This will help you in getting familiar with the sounds and pronunciation. It will be especially helpful in cases where spoken language differs from the written one such as French.
3. Be consistent even if you are only spending 15 minutes a day practising the language.
4. Define goals and track them, especially if you are self-studying. This will not only help you in seeing your progress but also motivate you to keep going. You can do this in various ways like recording yourself speaking the language, revisiting songs, books, or movies you couldn’t completely understand, or going old-school by taking exams!
5. Don’t shy away from making mistakes. You will learn from them and progress more effectively.
Now that you know that language learning doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore, you could check out Internshala’s French Language training, and get started! You can use the coupon BLOG10 to avail a discount of 10%.
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