We know that English has become an influential language throughout the world, making it easier for us to communicate with people from different countries. However, if you intend to gain a deeper understanding of their culture, social behavior, people, and beliefs, your first step should be to learn their language. Learning a new language involves more than just learning different words for the same things; it means learning another way to think about things.
Each language contains its own unique qualities, which have been structured and modified throughout its history to maintain a balance of feelings and emotions according to its people.
Benefits of learning a new language
- Learning a different language gives you a different vision of life and helps you develop a new perspective on the world that you have never seen before.
- Language acts as a roadmap to a culture, allowing you to see where people come from and where they are headed. In other words, it provides a clear understanding of the culture.
- Learning a new language contributes to self-discovery and self-awareness, which benefits various aspects of our lives such as self-esteem, relationships, success, and overall happiness.
- It provides more opportunities for landing good jobs or advancing in your career, while also giving you insight into other cultures.
- Learning a new language improves the brain’s memory functions and enhances problem-solving skills and creative thinking capacity.
Effects on brain
According to a recent study, young adults who are proficient in two languages perform better on attention tests and have better concentration than those who only speak one language. This is because learning a second language makes the language centers of the brain more flexible, develops new areas of the mind, and strengthens the brain’s natural ability to focus.
In 2009, Agnes Kovacs led a study that showed seven-month-old babies who were exposed to two languages displayed improved cognitive control, which helped them ignore distractions and stay focused, switch attention willingly from one thing to another, and hold information in mind compared to babies who were exposed to only one language.
Therefore, learning a new language is the most effective and practical way to increase intelligence.
Challenges you can face while learning
- It is very common to lose motivation when starting to learn something new. At first, you may be excited to learn, but with time, it requires effort to stay motivated and get through the most difficult parts. Your dedication and resolve are what can make it possible for you.
- Learning a new language is very time-consuming. If you are not very familiar with the language, it will take a long time to learn. Many learners give up midway because it takes a long time to completely learn. Learning a new language requires patience and time. It is not something that you can learn overnight, so it is advised to be patient.
- Most beginners who start to learn a new language have very little experience with real conversation. This makes it more challenging for them to learn. To gain confidence while talking with strangers and to remove self-doubt, it is advised to do a lot of practice. If you have a friend abroad or you are present there, it might be a good opportunity for you to have good conversation practice. You can also use social media.
- While learning, self-doubts may arise several times. It may not be limited to your learning process, but also to your self-character and personality. These things affect your efficiency and result in stress and depression. These types of thoughts should be avoided.
- While learning a new language, when you reach the point where you feel that you need to have a real conversation or you are ready to communicate, many people lack confidence because they are afraid of making mistakes and mispronouncing words. These problems can only be solved through practice and more practice. In the beginning, you may make some silly mistakes or face obstacles or hesitation while communicating, but gradually with time, you will overcome these problems.
How can you learn?
- Start by learning to speak
When starting to learn a new language, many people begin with learning the alphabet, writing methods, or grammar. However, it is better to learn how to speak first and then move on to writing. This is because by practicing speaking first, you already grasp many words and their grammar, making it a more efficient and effective way to learn without feeling overwhelmed by language rules that you don’t have practical knowledge of.
- Create a daily schedule
It can be difficult to find time for new things in our busy lives, but once you start learning, it is important to continue and dedicate sufficient time to it. Creating a daily schedule for practice can help to keep your learning journey smooth and without any hurdles or complications.
- Review what you have learned
As you progress in your language learning journey or accomplish a part of it, it’s important to review what you have learned. Our brains cannot hold knowledge that has no relation to us or is completely new, so reviewing previous lessons ensures that your efforts don’t go to waste and gives you the motivation to continue.
- Immerse yourself in the language
A language is not just intended for communication or understanding; it has the power to emphasize words so that they go directly to a person’s heart and touch certain emotions. Immersing yourself in the language will allow you to connect with the culture and people and gain insights into their emotions and feelings. You can do this by listening to foreign language media, reading books with translations, and having real-time conversations with people on social media.
- Set a daily goal
When trying to achieve something big, it’s important to come up with strategies and goals, as it cannot be accomplished entirely in a short period. By setting daily goals and estimating the amount of time you want to put in, you can be more efficient in your learning. Without goals, you have no plans or insights into the future, and you may lose the sense of accomplishment, leading to demotivation and stress.