You’re scouting around for business VOIP service providers such as Lingo Communications for your English lessons online enterprise. You now have a pool of 15 teachers, teaching Japanese, Chinese, and Korean students. The new telephone system will be a cost-saving initiative. You will be handing over to Jenny, your headteacher, the reigns for the time being as you go on an extended vacation.
Oddly enough, while you run a company teaching English, you’ve never had the opportunity to learn another language. In part, this is what your vacation is going to be about: learning a new language or languages. You’ve advised your students. You’ve turned the table on yourself this time, and you want to have better insights into what it takes to learn a new language. So you’re doing your research.
Here are some of the things you might discover:
A Knack for Languages: It’s in the Brain
It’s probably easier to teach a language that’s native to your tongue or at least a language that you studied in from when you were young. If you know the fundamentals (grammar, structure, and vocabulary), you can influence someone into speaking your language. It’s perhaps a bit different when you’re the one trying to learn a foreign language/a>.
Some researches suggest that every individual has different capacities to learn languages. And there is a neurological analysis, i.e., brains have been scanned while trying to learn languages that proves this point.
Three Pointers for Learning
“Hola!” or “Salut!” is how you would typically say hello in the Spanish and French languages, respectively. But how do you get to a point where you can go beyond saying hellos? Here are some of the things that you should focus on:
- A purpose. Telling yourself that you want to learn Spanish probably won’t be enough reason to sustain your interest in the learning process. You must find a compelling reason why you want to do it. Maybe it’s becoming a requirement of your job because you’re dealing with foreign clients. Or perhaps you are about to move into a new country. Purpose and motivation need to be clear in your head.
- Vocabulary. Ask yourself. Do babies or children know grammar or syntax? Probably not as much as adults care about them, yet they can easily pick up on languages. If part of your goal is to be able to communicate in another language, setting aside first proper grammar and all the rules, then you must stack up on your foreign vocabulary. You can tweak the correctness later. If you say, “Yo comprar zapatos rojo,” the native Spanish speaker can easily decipher this to mean “Yo quiero comprar zapatos rojos.” or “I want to buy red shoes.” And it goes both ways. When you catch and recognize words spoken by others, you can slowly understand their meaning once you become familiar with them.
- Be shameless. Talk as much as you can without being too mindful of your mistakes. Listen as much as you can while native speakers speak. Allow people to correct you. Before you know it, your listening and the correcting becomes auto-correcting. This shamelessness requires a setting, and that setting is immersion. Spend time in Spain or Latin America if you want to master Spanish. Live in Moscow or Tokyo if you’re going to learn Russian or Japanese.
It is also essential to get a teacher and a proper book to obtain some structure in your learning. Language-learning hacks go far beyond these pointers. But these will set you in the right direction.