Thinking about Learning a New Language?

Have you ever wanted to learn another language but never tried? Or maybe you took foreign language classes in school and would like to brush up on all you’ve since forgotten. If so, maybe it’s time to take the plunge. Why not? There’s nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain. In fact, research suggests learning a new language has both psychological and cognitive benefits. It can help improve overall brain functions, like problem solving. And it can help boost self-confidence and inspire feelings of accomplishment.

Because learning another language takes you outside your comfort zone, it can seem pretty intimating. However, today there are many helpful tools available for learning a new language. It takes time and determination, but it can be done. If you’ve got the desire and the time to learn a new language, why not give it a try?

A few helpful ideas…

  • Select a language that means something to you. It’s easier to learn something you connect with and are truly interested in. Maybe you’d like to learn French because you hope to visit Paris in the future. Maybe you’re interested in Spanish because you have friends who speak the language.

  • Set aside a small chunk of time to study each day. Many people find it more efficient to spend a half hour studying once a day than it is to spend hours at a time less often. Perhaps you’ll want to set yourself a reasonable goal of learning a few words or phrases each day.

  • Enjoy entertainment in your chosen language. Watch television shows or movies and listen to music in the language. Listening to actors and singers use another language can help train the ear to identify common words and phrases in context.
  • Sprinkle the language into your daily life. The more you’re exposed to and use a foreign language, the more natural it becomes. When you pick up an item in your home, say its name in your new language. You may want to label objects around your environment with their name in the language.

  • Take a class or work with a tutor. Language classes and tutors are available in person or via the Internet. Many online classes and tutors use video chat programs like Skype or Zoom. Remember, there’s usually a cost for resources offering teacher/student interaction.

  • Use a software program, app, or online platform. There are a variety of these options available. They can be effective tools for learning a language. They can help you build your vocabulary, learn proper grammar, as well as better understand and speak the language. Some require a subscription fee, but free resources are available as well.

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