Learning a language is not always an easy task. For example, the first time I went to Spain I couldn’t speak Spanish at all. However, I was able to get around; it was mostly just a lot of pointing and gesturing. Then when my family moved there when I was in middle school and high school we lived in a very rural area where almost no one spoke English at all. Therefore, for about two years it really felt like we were stuck on an island with no way of communicating with anyone other than ourselves! That’s how it can sometimes feel when you’re trying to learn a new language without the help of family or friends who speak that language fluently. I have to study Japanese and Chinese now, and that’s how I feel a lot of the time; I’m learning on my own, without the support of someone fluent in Japanese or Chinese. Even though it doesn’t help to have some one there to correct you or give you feedback when you make mistakes, sometimes it does help to have someone there just in case.
I’ve already mentioned that we moved from Spain to China when I was in middle school and high school. We had no family here at all (although we did find a few people who spoke English), so for almost four years I didn’t speak any English at home! This was pretty hard at times because living abroad is not always easy – especially if your kids don’t speak the language of their new home country very well. However, it really helped me learn Spanish faster than if I had stayed in Spain where everyone spoke Spanish but they were all speaking slightly different dialects that were very difficult for me to understand. So yes, language study can be challenging (especially if you don’t live with anyone who speaks the language), but if done right it will also help build fluency quickly without having any interference from other languages!
So what are some tips for success? The first thing is: do something every day! A few minutes here and there won’t really do anything; rather set aside some time each day where nothing else will distract you while studying your target language. It’s difficult, but I promise it will be worth it! A second tip is to learn the language of the country you want to migrate to and then use a migration agent to make the process easier. It might sound a little silly, but I have found that when you look up a word or phrase and then translate it into your native language (the target language), you will remember that word/phrase more easily. This also helps with comprehension because if you are reading something in your native language, either from a textbook or an article on the Internet and you don’t know what some of the words mean; then try looking them up in your target language so at least when you come back to read again after studying for a few minutes, those words won’t be as foreign anymore.
Language learning should always be fun! If something feels like work no matter how much time and effort is put into it then chances are that person won’t want to continue studying their new second/foreign/target language – they’ll just give up! I know this from personal experience; nothing has been harder than learning Chinese. I could never see myself living in China again, and I didn’t have any family or friends who could help me learn Chinese. However, I’ve found some great resources that really helped me learn this language even though it was difficult at times and still is! I’ll share them with you below:
Dedicated to helping us all better understand the Chinese language and culture, the Chinesepod podcast teaches listeners how to speak Mandarin Chinese. With over 2200 lessons in Mandarin Chinese as well as a searchable archive of lessons ranging from basic phrases all the way to advanced conversations; you will be able to find exactly what you need in order to communicate effectively with native speakers of Mandarin! The focus here is on pronunciation and listening comprehension; however vocabulary words are also taught. In addition, there are many cultural insights shared on this podcast which makes it one of my favorites for learning more about the people who speak Chinese. Currently there are three hosts: Teresa Ting (also known as Teacher Ter), Jason Boyi Huang (also known as Jboy) and Tim Philips (also known as Pronunciation Man). Each host has their own strengths when teaching different aspects of learning Mandarin Chinese; so try out each one at least once so that you can get a feel for what kind of style they teach.
I started this post on language study as a guide to success, and I hope I was able to help you in some way. In the end, it really is all about keeping your motivation and having fun with what you’re doing; if you can do that then learning a new language will be even more enjoyable than it already is! If you have any additional tips or resources please let me know in the comments below!
Also read Language Study: A Guide to Success