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Learning a new language can benefit many parts of your life.
Whether you’re planning a trip to a new country, live in an area that is very diverse, or simply want to learn something new, learning a new language can benefit you in many ways. There are plenty of reasons to learn a new language, but finding the time and energy will take some work as a parent. We’ll discuss the reasons and strategies for learning a new language in this article.
Why learn a new language
There are tons of reasons why you might want to learn a new language, even as an adult. You may have taken a language class (or many) in school, but you’ve likely forgotten most of it if you haven’t used it. If you’re at a point now where you’re ready to use a new language, then learning one will make a lot of sense.
Perhaps your child is going into a dual immersion program at school - this is the perfect opportunity for you to start to learn that language as well. Don’t expect to learn nearly as fast as your child though unless you’re spending multiple hours per day practicing. Kids learn languages much faster than adults do. Regardless, learning a new language to be able to understand some of what your child is saying, and to be able to speak the words they’re learning will be beneficial to everyone.
Another popular reason to learn a new language is that you’re headed on a trip to another country. If this is the case, then learning some of the basic words and phrases will never hurt. While you may not be able to fluently speak with the people in the area, they’ll appreciate that you’ve learned a bit of their language. With internet connections being fairly widely available these days, you can generally use your phone if you’re stuck in a place that you need it, but that didn’t used to be the case.
Yet another reason to learn a new language is because of the area that you live in. Many families live in areas where a second language is very common. If you don’t live in an English speaking country, then learning English is often very beneficial as a large portion of the world speaks English to some degree. If you live in an area with a lot of diversity, there may be other languages that make sense to learn.
Methods for learning a new language
There are many different reasons why you might want to learn a new language. Whatever your reasoning, the toughest step is to actually follow through on that need or desire. You need to be dedicated as learning a new language will take a lot of work. Below are a few different strategies for learning a new language.
Use an app
Perhaps the simplest way to get started is to use an app to learn the language. There are tons of these apps available to help you learn languages. We’ve tried both Duolingo and Babbel and had pretty good success with both, but depending on your language there may be better options available for you.
An app is not magic in the sense that you’ll quickly know a new language. You’ll have to use and practice with it every day. An app is simply a tool to help guide you through your learning, but you’ll still need to put in the time and effort to actually succeed. You probably need to practice everyday to make any real meaningful progress in your learning, so be prepared to put in a bit of time every single day.
Enroll in an online course
Apps are a great starting point, but if you’re not self motivated or need something a little more structured for your learning, then you should enroll in an online course. Online courses are generally a little more structured in their setup, and they will have a more defined timeline of when you should complete each learning section.
Similar to apps, an online course still comes back to you putting in the time and effort. If you actually need to learn the language for something in your life, then you’ll put in the time and effort and an online course will make sense. If you’re just dabbling in the language a little bit and not really dedicated to learning it, then an online course may not make the most sense for you.
Memorize lots of words
One of the keys to learning a new language is to learn lots of words in that language. Some languages have much easier grammar than other languages, but even if you know the grammar perfectly, you won’t be able to understand or communicate without knowing a lot of words. Fortunately, you can do both grammar learning and word memorization at the same time.
Set a goal for a number of new words that you want to memorize each day, and then do it. At the beginning of the following day, quiz yourself on the words you learned the previous day, and then add more words to learn that day. Choose words that you’ll actually use, and not random or weird words - you’re much more like to remember words you actually use in a new language.
Go back to school
If learning a new language is something that you’re doing for employment or a more serious purpose, then going back to school or at least a high level language class is probably your best option. It will force you to learn the new language and you’ll get very customized and important context about how the language is structured and works.
Learning a new language takes a lot of work. It will likely take many months to be able to understand and speak in a new language, but the reward is pretty incredible once you make it. Buckle up and get to work.