What happens when you learn a new language? Your brain is analyzing, processing all the new information coming in – new vocabulary & sounds, picture-word associations, sentence structures and so on right? But remembering this new and complex information becomes the next most challenging and vital part in language learning.
“I learnt it but I’ve forgotten” “I don’t remember” “Wait, wait, hang on, I know this word, hmmm…gosh, I can’t remember” “It’s too hard to remember, maybe language learning isn’t for me” “I don’t have a good memory” If you feel this way, feel frustrated or disappointed. Please don’t! “Forgetting new words” is a completely natural process. Your brain not only analyzes and processes what you learn but “selectively” stores and discards data. Even this selection will fade over time with more information constantly coming in. That’s why some of us would wake up one day and say “I don’t remember a word of what I learnt – Zilch , Nada.”
How can we change this and be more efficient in language learning? Simple. First tell the brain who is the boss and help it to remember the information that we “select” as “the most important”. It doesn’t stop at that. Next is “Constant Repetition” – the golden key to developing any skill. Just as how you would workout every day to tone up your muscles, spending time repeatedly reviewing even 5-10 minutes every day will tone your memory significantly improving your capacity to remember the language you are learning.
For the constant repetition, for your learning process to evade monotony, you must be in love with the language, be passionate. Language is all about forming links. You form this amazing link with another person from another culture, you understand and communicate with them on a much personal level when you speak their language. Nelson Mandela said best when he said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands that goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his language that goes to his heart”
The next time when things seem tough learning a new language, remind yourself the awesomeness of the heart-heart interaction, remind yourself the endless and immense possibilities that it will bring into different aspects of your life- new lifelong friendships, new relations – personal or at work . This idea of reminding yourself why you do what you do will keep you focused, emotionally invested in your learning process. And we all know when we have an emotional attachment to something it just sticks with us; it stays in our hearts, in our memories, forever.
The first best friend you made at school,
The lunches you shared together,
The spotless green car your dad gave you,
And how you went and crashed it,
The crooked smile of your first love
The first kiss in the rain,
The new adventures you took,
The roads you crossed,
All you remember,
You remember because you love,
So, love the language you learn,
And you won’t be surprised
when your brain wakes up from an anesthesia
and makes you say “Putain, Je me sens terrible.”
All you remember,
You remember because you love.