Learning a new language can sometimes be a daunting task. After all, we have not heard much, let alone read much in that language. How can we possibly learn to read, write and speak it in such a small span of time? In Singapore, students learn to be bilingual from young, having to learn their mother tongue and of course, the language medium in schools- English. On top of that, many opt to take up a third language, either examinable or just conversational, in secondary school. Adults too, may want to learn a new language in preparation to move elsewhere or just for value adding themselves. If you are such a student and are struggling with your language subjects or an adult looking to learn a new language, you have come to the right space!

Why learn a new language?

If you are still disgruntled about your parents or school “forcing” you to learn a new language or someone who is still not convinced on its benefits, here are some of the advantages of mastering it.

1.     Improve brain health

Numerous studies have proven that learning a new language can improve your cognitive abilities, no matter your age. These includes memory improvement, longer attention span and better focus and concentration. Such cognitive improvements will help in every different aspect of your life.

2.     Increase job opportunities

With globalization, many companies are located in a vast number of countries in the world. Learning another language can be used to increase your employment prospects as such companies view employees who can speak at least one foreign language as vital. The ability to communicate in a different language can also help to set yourself apart from other candidates for potential employment.

3.     Build friendships

Speaking another language can help you to communicate and build lifelong friendships with people who speak the same language- something that you would not otherwise be able to do. It will also allow you to discover another culture as you are able to converse with natives and participate in exciting and interesting topics of discussions.

4.     Vacation Selections

Of course, this should not be left out. Speaking another language will widen your holiday selection and often, help you to save more money and provide convenience at your holiday destination! There is nothing better than to be able to communicate with the locals and navigate your way around with ease.

Let’s get started!

Now that you know the benefits of learning a new language, let’s get started!

Firstly, know the shortcuts. A powerful framework introduced by Tim Ferriss is to deconstruct 8 different sentences that will expose how sentences are structured, how indirect and direct objects are used, how to differentiate feminine and masculine words and how verbs are conjugated into sentences. Using the translation from English to Spanish, the 8 sentences are:

 

For example, in English,

The word order is: He/She + verb + (DOP)+ to (IOP).
He gives (verb) the apple (DOP) to her (IOP)

But in Spanish,

The word order is: Él/Ella + (IOP) + (DOP)+ conjugated verb +clarifier.

*IOP=indirect object pronoun
*DOP=direct object pronoun

Secondly, memorise the most common words. The beginning of learning any language is to commit vocabulary to memory. Did you know that you can memorize roughly 500 common words in any language and understand 60% of it? In fact, 60% is more than enough to fill the missing spaces to know what native speakers are saying.

Thirdly, immerse yourself in that language. After all, the end goal in learning a new language is to eventually be able to immerse yourself in it. Immersing yourself in the language means to watch TV, listen to podcasts and reading books in that foreign language. The most important thing is to not force yourself into doing an activity that you don’t like just because it is in that language. Learning a new language is hard enough- might as well do something that you enjoy while doing it!

Now that you know where to start from, I wish you all the best in learning that new language. It may be difficult at the beginning, but never give up because the end outcomes are definitely rewarding!