THE POLYGLOT DREAM!
Learning a language is fun, but it comes with its own sweet dose of a patience testing element, i.e, time! With a little patience, effort and time, anyone can master a language like a native speaker.
Time is a big player in learning or gaining fluency in any language and impatience is a quality which will push any speaker into a large black hole of confusion and despair.
If it is not so difficult, then what are the easy, real life tricks of the trade that can speed up the process and ease the curious mind of future polyglots? Let us have a look at some key helping points in the journey of learning a language:
1. Learning and practice build the road to perfection: Most people lose heart when they are not able to master a language and speak it just like their mother tongue. Committing constant mistakesmakes them feel weird and breaks their monotony. However, one should remember that even native speakers, when asked to explain a grammar concept, cannot usually explain it, and sometimes don’t even use it themselves. Just like Rome was not built in a day, language takes a lot of practice and time to conceptualise and stay in our minds.
2. Don’t run your brain for translating every word:Have you ever wondered how we are fluent in our native languages and how we struggle to find words for every word in a sentence when learning a new language? Well the trick is that we find it easy to speak in our native dialect, as that is the same language that we are thinking in! All languages have a different pattern for grammar rules and translating word by word will only get you a messed up sentence.
The idea is to find the words for the things you wish to describe and then think in the language that you are learning in. If you come to think of it, how do babies learn a language? They learn it by observing actions, catching up words for what they want to say and therefore end up thinking in that language only. It’s time to think like a baby!
3. Being inquisitive is the key :One has to be very curious and inquisitive about a new language. Whether it is about learning grammar rules or learning new words, the moment you feel it is ‘too much’ and you start perceiving it to be more of a task, and less of a normal, fun filled activity, you will see a decrease in your productivity levels. You need to constantly add new words to your vocabulary and use them whenever possible.
You should draw links between languages and use ‘cognates’. You must have noticed that many words sound similar in various languages. This similarity of spellings or maybe pronunciations is known as ‘cognates’. For e.g, in German , the word ‘mother’ is known as ‘mutter’. Cheese is known as ‘fromage’ in French and ‘fromaggio’ in Italian. Such words decrease our burden of remembering everything and it’s a proven fact that people, who are bilingual, find it easier to learn more languages, so you should never fret over the hard work!
4. Writing it right:Besides listening, thinking and speaking a new language, it is essential to inculcate writing in our language learning process because not only is writing one of the key skills, it also helps us improve all the other three things. Sometimes, when we are unable to translate our thoughts into words, it becomes much easier to write them down and then speak. Also, writing new words to remember them and using writing as a tool to revise grammar rules, for e.g verb conjugations, makes learning a new language a less tiresome process, while making you confident,as you will make less spelling mistakes in this process.
5. Making the language a part of your life:Merely learning the language tools and understandingwords, writing them down and using them only for your classes is not going to help you achieve the required fluency or fulfil your polyglot dream. It goes without saying that when you learn a language, you need to ensure that you are including it in your daily life, as much as possible.
You need to watch movies and videos, and listen to the local music as much as possible. Not only is it a fun activity, you will also learn the pronunciation, learn more about the culture and people of the native country, and it is a fool proof way of never losing interest in polishing the language skills.
One learns many new slangs and phrases when you tune into the entertainment medium of that language.
6. Perfect practice makes a man perfect:Last but not the least, it’s not merely practicing the language skills, but practicing it in the right way is more important to decrease redundancy.
You need to constantly practice all four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening to stay in the loop and never forget what you learnt. A good way of doing that is by talking to native speakers, if possible, or speaking to other learners, whenever you can.
If none of that is possible in your case, then another quirky way is to simply stand in front of the mirror and converse with yourself, record your voice and hear your accent. Practicing will ensure you are fluent and fast.
One should keep in mind that learning the rules of grammar of any language is like a maths equation. If you understand the formula, then its application is not tough. Similarly, if you understand the logic of grammar concepts, then applying them to your writing and speaking is not going to tough at all.
You should remember that only meditation is an activity which requires one to sit still. All other activities, including learning a new language, requires immense dedication and action. Being a polyglot can be a distant dream, but it surely is not an impossible one to fulfil.
We are touching the Moon and Mars today, languages are still our own creation. So, take the plunge, wash away your inhibitions and dive into this ocean of languages until you become a self-proclaimed, proud ‘polyglot’. If you dreamed of it, you can achieve it too.
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