Top 10 Ways to Learn a New Language

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In the Global Village of the 21st Century, the world has now become a much smaller place. People can now connect with others from different parts of the world. With the social media, business boom and expansion, travelling options, remote corners of the world are now accessible. And with that, has come in the need or even the desire for many individuals to learn a new language. It not only helps in the corporate world or in the work forum when it comes to interacting with foreign clients, or travelling abroad for work, but also ups ones prestige in the social circle. With the foray of various Asian and European companies in India and the travel scope likewise abroad, there has never been a better time to learn a new language. In this article we delve into the top 10 ways to learn a new language in just two weeks! Perfect, for the high flying executive, busy homemaker, prospective student, or world travelling jetsetter.

10. Course

There are plenty of courses that help you pick up a new language. It is the most common thing to do and hence we begin our list with joining a course. One could join a short term course which last for about 8 – 10 sessions. They could be compressed or expanded depending on your time line. There are also beginners courses specifically tailored to help one pick up the basics of the language rather than give an in depth study. Most importantly, to save time as well as money, there are today plenty of online courses and apps that help you study at your own ease and in the comfort of your home. Duolingo and Livemocha are two such examples where the internet comes extremely handy when it comes to learning something new.

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9. Accepting Ridicule

One of the reasons people take time to learn a new language is the fear of failing, such as messing up the words, or having incorrect grammar, or not getting the accent right. But these are just steps in perfecting something new. Native speakers will applaud your effort especially when you can accept the fact that you are wrong with a smile. Your resilience will shine through, and friends, family and people who actually speak the language pitch in to help in whatever way they can.

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8. Movies and music

One of the best ways to learn a new language is to hear it a lot and slowly but steadily the words start making sense and you can identify bits and phrases. Also, it is a great help in perfecting the pronunciation. Once you have started learning the language, ensure that you watch 20 minutes of any foreign language movie with subtitles every day. If you can, you could also watch a children’s movie which is definitely slower and with easier grammar. The internet can be a great help in recommending good movies and songs.

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7. Help of a foreign friend

Taking the advice and help of a native speaker can never go wrong. If anything its boosts up the process by providing invaluable insight into the language at hand, such as quirks in the manner of speaking, shortcuts in remembering, as well as commonly used abbreviations to express oneself. In today’s world, most people have had a certain amount of exposure to the world. They are bound to meet people from different countries and maybe even keep in touch later on. If not, there is always the social media and apps that can help one connect with a native speaker in order to improve one’s linguistic skills.

76. Revision and Practice

Nothing beats learning than good ol’ revision. It is in our blood so to speak honed by hours and hours of study in school and then for higher education. Therefore, learning stuff up isn’t that difficult for any Indian once he/she sets his/her mind to it. In any case, practice makes perfect and that rule is applicable even when it comes to learning a new language. There are fun ways to learn but the basics will always remain the same. So set out alternate days to learn and follow up the next day with audio tapes, and revision post-its strewn in visible locations.

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5. Invest in an audio tape

If you want to learn a new language, and you want to learn it quick, you have to bring in some changes in your lifestyle. It need not be drastic, just little things like going through all the major phrases like saying your name, asking people how they are doing, asking for directions and repeating the question words, etc. at least once a day especially if you can do so with one of those wonderful audio tapes that you can set in your mobile, or through a CD or pen-drive in your car. Every day you can increase the number or sentences or words till you have covered the entire gist of key phrases. You could also listen to an audio tape while working out, when you take a break from work, while cooking or cleaning. You can buy them at one of the major book stores or download them. Learning entails audio, visual and sensory stimulation and we begin our top five of our top 10 list with one of the senses, that is, hearing.

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4. Language partner

Learning a new language becomes much easier if you do it with someone – maybe your family member, friend or colleague who too wishes to learn the specific language. Practice sessions, mock conversations, test sessions become much simpler and you both can challenge each other. Mostly it just helps to know that there is someone else. You can both set a deadline for learning a little bit and come back and question each others’ knowledge. It will keep you on your toes. Proceed by having a conversation based on what you learnt. It is the most fool proof way to get down to serious business and hence it is among the top five ways to learn a new language on our list.

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3. Learning on the go

There is no better way to learn a language than actually being in the country which speaks it. It is third on our list as it challenges you in every way possible and tests the grit of your spirit and your sense of adventure. Think Julia Roberts’s journey in Eat Pray Love. She went to Italy a total mess and figured out a way to converse in no time. Sometimes, all you need in life is a little push. Once you are in a foreign land and are ready to put yourself out there, there is no stepping back. To get by in your everyday life, you learn basic phrases, object names, directions, colours and numbers within a week.

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2. The Labelling Phase

Learning a new language is a kind of association process. The amount of exposure that you give yourself to that language, the faster you learn. Start by labelling the objects in your everyday life with a translation in the foreign language. Things like pen, table, chair, tea, coffee, spoon, towel, dishes, car, book, bed, room, etc. Do it by pasting the foreign name on the known object or by using a post it, or even a marker pen. If you see it around you every day, it will be at most three days before you know the foreign names by heart. It is also fun for you and even your family. For the amount of work your brain does in writing down objects and connecting it to visual memory when it sees them every day, we have it second on our list.

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1. Curiosity and Something Called Google – a Delicious Spice Mix

There is a little thing in everybody’s life connecting millions of people on a daily basis, and that thing is Google. When in a fix, simply ask Google. One question and thousands of sites pop up. While something complicated may need a better option but Google Translate works wonders with simple translations. Open your mind to various possibilities and whenever something new strikes your mind, such as a word that you must know in your new language, go ahead and find out what it is. Curiosity and an ability to raise questions constantly is far more important than having the best tutor, or course, or app, or even the travel agent or native speaker at your beck and call. As the saying goes, “one can only take the horse to water, but one cannot make it drink”. So be your own guru and guide and make those two weeks count. For its sheer self dependence, we have this mix on top of our list.

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CONCLUSION

These steps need to be mixed and matched to suit your schedule and your likes and dislikes. But the important thing is to not give up even when things get difficult. Learning a new language in two weeks is a challenge that you can definitely accomplish. That includes how to greet people, say numbers, introduce yourself, know the everyday objects and basic phrases needed in day to day life and ask questions. Beyond that, it depends on how far you are willing to push yourself. So get started on this amazing journey and amaze everyone around you.

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