In every curriculum, foreign or second language learning has been a compulsory subject for every student from the earliest until the final year of school. Some believe that learning a new language could promote several benefits that help students achieve better cognitive development and higher accomplishments after school.
In this 21st century, mastering a foreign language has become a beneficial skill for everybody. Understanding that globalization has hit every aspect of every country’s social and economic sectors, mastering a new foreign language will help people to gain more access to wider career opportunities and global interaction.
With the new language skill, people will not only feel confident in their careers but it will also help them aware of other things as they will socialize with more people from other countries.
Learning a new language benefits
Today, learning a new language is also essential for professionals. For them, being bilingual can help improve their careers significantly as the global economy is built interconnected and interdependent. It has been also common knowledge that modern companies are aware of international communication and interaction so they will recruit people that understand languages that are often used in international business interactions like English, Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, and Russian.
In line with that, speaking a foreign language will help people connect with people from different cultures. This kind of interaction will feed someone’s perspective on seeing the new world. Understanding foreign language also helps people to go beyond the limit while accessing information. It will give them new exposure to new perspectives, knowledge, and some kind of appreciation that will boost their empathy and tolerance of others. This attitude is indeed very important in the working environment that put people of different cultures working together.
While improving someone’s attitude and communication skills, learning a new language also gives a cognitive advantage. Many studies have shown bilingual people can focus and memorize better compared to those who only speak one language. The second language ability will help them advance in social learning which will enhance their critical thinking skills as well as their problem-solving ability.
Tips for mastering a new language
After learning the benefits of mastering a foreign language, it is time to consider when and how to start. There are many language courses available online and offline which can provide you with some assistance and access to insightful learning materials to help you progress faster in learning. However, language courses and programs often charge a tremendous amount of money though they usually assure you of the best service and results.
If you want to learn a new language by yourself, it needs extra effort and also hard work since you need to plan and prepare everything by yourself. Moreover, you need to keep your motivation and cheer yourself up when you face notable difficulties that are hard to be taken down.
1. Setting up the learning course
To start your own learning course, the first step is to set your own learning goals. This is important to monitor your progress so you can set another goal when the first goal has been accomplished. You may need a checklist of language skills and targets that are important for you. This step also helps you to focus only on your target and keep you on track.
2. Start from the basic
Vocabulary and expressions should be your top priorities before you go learning the rules. Knowing the right words and the right expression will help you to at least understand what people are saying in your target language. You will also need to know the correct pronunciation since it’s vital in conversation. By learning expressions you will be able to make a conversation or able to say something basic about your daily life.
If you learn languages that use special characters or alphabets like Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, or Greek/Cyrillic, then you should also plan reading and writing course earlier.
In some studies, a language learner needs to memorize or comprehend about 1000 to 3000 target language words. These numbers are mostly the basic words used in daily conversation including numbers, colors, feeling, and so on. The list of words is available for free on the internet so you can get them anytime and create a plan to learn them.
There are many ways that you can try in memorizing the words and expressions. The most recommended tricks are using flashcards, games, song lyrics, movies, and literary works. Some people may agree that these strategies are obsolete, thus exploring language activities or other exercises on the internet that suit you sounds like a good idea too.
3. Find out the best learning style
“Study hard, study smart” sounds very challenging, especially for older people. However, everyone has their own learning style which needs a different learning approach. For example, when someone is only capable of memorizing by visualization or vocalization, thus a game that uses a lot of illustration and speaking aloud sounds perfect.
If you love singing, you can explore some songs and hopefully, there are some that you like. Learn to sing the songs, the pronunciation, the lyrics, and the translation so that you can really memorize everything. This kind of method usually works best for improving both vocabulary comprehension and speaking skill.
You might also need to practice the language that you just learned so it seems wonderful to find a learning friend. In this era of the internet and social media, finding people who are in the same shoes as you are not very difficult. You can even find the group on the internet so you can talk and improve your language skills.
4. Practice and practice a lot
There are two types of practicing that you can try to improve your language skills. The first one is to practice your skills with tests or language evaluations. You can subscribe to online tutors and gain some experiences that you might not have from learning by yourself. The best thing about this part is that you will have someone who will evaluate your mistake and control your progress. By knowing your weaknesses, you can improve yourself and become even more fluent in your target language.
The second one is to take a real conversation with the natives. Planning a trip either a real trip to the target country or a virtual trip on the internet will improve your language skills in all aspects. You also need some natives to know how well you are. If you can make a fun conversation with them, it means that you have learned enough to make you feel confident to take some certification that will be useful for your career.