What is the best way to learn another language…
So you have decided to learn another language this year? Great! This is the best decision you have made- Congratulations! Learning a new language opens your mind, helps you to understand other cultures, to improve your attention and memory, to empathise with others and to impress your workmates, boss, friends and your girlfriend or boyfriend.
Learning a language requires dedication and lots of practice to get to the point that everything is automatic and natural- just like in your own language.
It is not just learning 20 words a day until you’re done, or listening to a pod cast for the whole day and voila! Now you are fluent. This is not an effective way to learn any language.
So, what is the best way to learn another language?
The best way to learn a language is to IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE LANGUAGE you want to learn.
Not everyone who makes the commitment to learning a foreign language has heard of language immersion learning, so we would like to shed some light on the concept.
Language immersion is a teaching method in which the target language is the only language used in the classroom. Just like your mum and dad were teaching you their native language when you were born – and you were watching, listening and imitating it – your teacher is communicating with you in that foreign language non-stop. If a baby can do it, you can do it!
To help with this communication your teacher will use various tools like pictures, actual objects and demonstrations as well as facial expressions, gestures and mime and pointing. The key point, as with every type of learning, is repetition. Check this –Making the Most of Immersion Learning.
According to the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), ‘language immersion education has heralded benefits such as academic achievement, language and literacy development in two or more languages, and cognitive skills’.
At Language Hub we believe that this teaching method is the fastest and most effective way to learn a language. Instead of translating phrases in your mind, you will soon think and speak in your target language because you are getting used to the structures and patterns of the language.
Making the effort to talk in your target language will enable you to store those phrases in your long term memory – and it is there to stay. Consequently, after one year of immersing yourself in the target language, you will be able to have a real conversation.
Do I have to fly to my target country to learn my favourite language?
Of course not! You don’t need to move to China to master Chinese or travel to south America to speak Spanish or visit Paris to learn French. You can master your target language from your home town. Even though living in your target country is an amazing and incredible experience that you should do, it is not necessary to learn the language. If you move to your target country for a few months or years, it’s possible you will not learn the language. People think they can fly to Italy and somehow by magic they will speak Italian. But it’s not that easy. You do need to be prepared and have a strategy even if you move to the country.
Why is it not that easy?
People always believe that travelling to another country would be helpful to learn their favourite language. It is not automatically going to make you fluent in the language. It only works when you are completely into daily practice, positive interaction with local people and highly motivated regardless of any culture shock and lack of confidence.
There are a lot of people who live in another country for years and years and never learn the language at all. You may be surprised but this is more common that you think. If you are not full motivated, you won’t properly learn your target language.
To prove this, I can tell my cousin’s story. He speaks Spanish and he loves Japanese. He is deeply in love with Japanese culture. He has never been to Japan or even abroad; however, he speaks Japanese so well and I know that because I work in a Language School and the Japanese teacher has spoken with him on skype. When I was planning my trip to Japan with my husband, I asked my cousin for some advice on where to go, eat and visit. He gave us such good suggestions that it felt like he had been to Japan many times. How had he learnt it? Well, He had done many things to immerse himself into Japanese language while living in a Spanish speaking country.
If you are not leaving in your target country, bring the country to you. Absorb everything you can in your preferred language.
Enjoy your target language!