Student quote of the day – ‘If everyone else is thinking outside the box, the best thing to do is to think inside the box’
“Oh I’m not a language person”. That despairing declaration that I hear so often said by those who have struggled or are currently struggling to grasp a new language. Here in the UK the majority of people don’t go out of there way to try and acquire a second tongue, finding ourselves lost amongst verbs, rules and reasons why what we just said was utter nonsense. But is it really that difficult? Can this task which sometimes seeme impossible to overcome be conquered? The easy answer is yes, but here’s the key:
Integrate it into your life.
“…you can receive 2 classes a month for only 1 pound for the entire year! Don’t miss out on this opportunity!”
Now, that might sound a little odd but hear me out. When you were a baby, how did you learn the basics of the language you now speak fluently? By immersing yourself in it totally. Everyday you were surrounded by people speaking it, books written in that language with colourful illustrations to aid learning and tv shows blaring out awful but catchy music again, in that language. You were forced to take in this information and eventually things would click; letters would turn into words, which would turn into phrases and so on. And once you started the learning process grew quicker and quicker right? So that’s the approach you need to take now too!
Now I’m not saying you need to ask your parents to make funny faces and garble words like ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ whilst playing peek-a-boo (although it truly is a timeless game). All I’m saying is you need to train your ears, eyes and mouth for this new language. Listen to podcasts, tv shows, audiobooks and try to catch key words. Use apps like ‘Duolingo’ to learn vocabulary as well as practice saying various commonly used phrases. And finally (and most dauntingly) speak! No matter if it takes an age to simply remember how to ask someone’s name, it is critical you get used to speaking to native speakers so that commonly used phrases spring to mind automatically as well as to learn colloquialisms which would otherwise cause you troubles on your travels.
As a student it can be difficult to try and fit language learning into your already busy schedules of eat, rave, repeat but simple actions like listening to a quick podcast on the way to uni or even looking into signing up for a class at the International Society can go a long way to enhance your learning. I have been taking intermediate Spanish classes for 3 weeks now and can honestly say it has already improved my understanding of the language greatly. So why not give it a go! With the creation of the new Linguistics Society you can receive 2 classes a month for only 1 pound for the entire year! Don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Finally and perhaps most importantly don’t give up. You can’t expect to sit down and pick up a language within a short period of time. This is something to work on for a while, but using the tips above and using your own imagination to try and get as much of the language around you as possible will speed your learning process immensely. Good luck, ja está y hasta pronto!