They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but we don’t believe that for a second! Learning a whole new language, whatever your age is difficult, but as we get older it can seem that much harder. Whether you want to learn a few words to help you get by on holiday, or have an interest in becoming bilingual, it’s never too late to master a new language.
Follow our top tips for learning a new language, whatever it is, and you’ll be fluent before you know it!
Know why and team up
You need to work out why you’re learning a new language and keep that in mind at all times. Motivation is often what holds a lot of people back, so make sure you stay on track and remind yourself why you chose to start learning in the first place.
It’s also useful to team up with someone else learning the same language. It could be a sibling, a friend or a neighbour, but having someone else to learn with can often give you a bit of healthy competition to make sure you stick at it.
Get out of your comfort zone
Nobody will expect you to be fluent when you first start learning a new language, but you need to be prepared to make mistakes and get out of your comfort zone frequently. If you’re learning French and find yourself in a French restaurant, try and order your food in French. Speak to strangers in the language you’re learning, try and tell a joke, jsut use the language at every opportunity.
The more you do this, the bigger your comfort zone will be and you’ll start to build up more confidence. It’s only natural that you may not understand the sayings, or that the you might find the syntax or grammar is difficult to master, but over time, it’ll become easier.
Watch and listen
If you get the opportunity to watch other people speak the language, then take full advantage; you will be able to see how they pronounce certain words. If you don’t know anyone who speaks it, watch foreign language films or TV shows instead.
The ultimate goal is to be able to have conversations in your chosen language, so try and find people to talk to as early as possible. Even if you can only understand a few words or phrases, listening to someone else speak will help you learn and pick up the right pronunciations. If you start any conversation by explaining that you are learning, you’ll alleviate any awkwardness if you do make a mistake.
The most important thing is to stick with it and remember that it takes time to master a new language. Are you trying to become bilingual? Let us know how you got on via our Facebook page or on Twitter @ChurchillRL.