Learning a new language will expose you to new cultures and experiences, but the task may be more challenging for some. Read on for a few tips on mastering your chosen tongue.
Learning a New Language: How to Think Like a Child
It wouldn?t be unusual for a toddler to ask for a cookie in two, or maybe even three languages. That?s because children as young as 2 are hardwired to internalize and mimic whatever languages they hear. With regular use, those skills can last a lifetime.
After a certain point, though, around age 12 or 13, something in the brain?we?re not quite sure what?shifts, and language acquisition becomes markedly more difficult. Straight-A students can find themselves struggling in Spanish class, and even the most persistent adult language learners may never acquire perfect fluency. Although adult brains will never return to their former sponge-like state, there are a few strategies that can ease the language-learning process.
Listening: Children absorb the sounds around them for months before ever uttering a word. This ?silent period? is spent internalizing vocabulary and sentence patterns. Adults, too, can benefit from focused listening, whether through movies, music, or podcasts in their target language.
Multiple Methods: Some language classes focus on rote memorization and discussion of grammar, and others use total language immersion to mimic the state of childhood learning. Ideally, language learners should combine elements from both methods. Immersion is a great strategy for practicing vocabulary and conversation, but an adult?s advanced understanding of grammar can make it easier for them to learn new verb tenses and sentence structures.
Motivation: Just as kids approach their first words with enthusiasm, attitude is a critical factor for adult language learners. Students can often stay motivated by setting specific goals, such as holding a conversation with a native speaker or ordering off a French menu using only past participles.
Fearlessness: There?s no getting around the fact that adults have a harder time mastering new pronunciations. However, a fear of mispronunciation shouldn?t stop someone from practicing their new language aloud. Many cultures are used to hearing their language spoken with a foreign accent, and even imperfectly structured sentences can still convey their meaning through context. In short, practice makes perfect?even if it isn?t perfect in practice.
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Q&A with Abby Marks Beale, Course Creator
How is your approach different than that of other professionals in your field?
The Rev It Up Reading online course is the result of 25 years of in-person training experience and extensive study on how people learn. It is highly interactive, challenging you to think about who you are as a reader and to begin incorporating the proven strategies into your reading workload. You are supported the whole way with 24/7 access to [me] via email.
What's one tip for first-time customers that will make them feel like regulars?
This can be your first online course. It's easy to follow and engaging. We have great customer service if you need any help.
What aspect of your job, or the services you offer, most often surprises people?
How personal we are. [I], the course creator and speed-reading expert, am accessible via email (and by phone when needed). We are very customer-service oriented.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Having the 10 Days to Faster Reading ebook included in the course is a great resource to keep when you are done with the course.
Head instructor Camila Gabriel first fell in love with teaching before she even went to college, when she worked as a swimming instructor at the YMCA. She fell in love with her students and while at school, did everything she could to get back into the classroom. Today, Camila and her fellow teachers help students of all ages succeed in the classroom through tutoring and classes.
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