Learning a language: an undiscovered territory
August 09 2021 · 5 min read
Getting familiar with a language is as tough as making new friends on your first day in university. A new language is an undiscovered territory: you have to take risks and sell beyond the line of control, wait, that was dramatic, but learning a new language can be as terrifying as:
“Why is dark spelled with a K and not C?”
“Because you cannot C in the dark.”
We are interested in any language as long as we watch movies and enjoy the songs in them. Apart from that learning language is a boring school subject, which we need to study to complete our degree. But we need to wake up because we cannot become bilingual unless we change learning a language from being a boring school subject to a pleasant activity that we do not mind doing. We have to immerse ourselves in it and interact with the language to make learning it fun.
Tactics that are fun to begin learning a language with.
Polyglots around the world have the habit of finding their personal way of learning a language. However, few activities are common among them which they use as a fun way of engaging with languages.
- Consuming content in the target language:
Rate of improvement doubles when we begin getting acquainted with the language. Consuming content like repeating lyrics after a song or watching movies with subtitles could be one of them. A pro tip is watching the news and listening to radio podcasts in the target language. It teaches the conversational structure of the language. In addition, you can read your favorite books in that language. It might frustrate you in the beginning but you will enjoy the activity gradually. You can also follow native speakers on social media, on YouTube you can follow YouTubers.
- Writing and speaking right away:
One of my friends had this amazing trick of learning German through texting native people. She would add random people on social media and open a chat window with one of them. She would write ‘Hi’ in German and the person would reply ‘Hi, how are you??” And then she would copy and paste it into the chat box with another person. And the person would reply “I am fine, how are you?” She would copy this and send it back to the first person. What an innovative method right? Soon she learned how a conversation works and she started speaking German herself.
Moreover, we should divide language into categories and try learning vocabulary focusing one section at a time. For example, learn phrases then move on to food then to travel vocabulary, and so on. And after lessons write down as many words as you remember. You can also try to translate content into the language you are learning. It is best to keep a separate journal. And practice all the activities in it. Turn to learn a language into artwork.
Take advantage of free apps: Duolingo
Duolingo is like a game where you earn rewards for completing your missions. It uses a reward system to engage its users and make learning interesting. You would have seen that green owl, which could make you beg for your life in German if you miss out on a lesson (that is not serious).
Duolingo is an application for language learning, which uses the freemium model to teach 106 language courses in 40 different languages. It also includes premium services like having unlimited hearts and getting rid of ads. Its reward system includes earning diamonds. And you can spend this currency on buying streak freezers or other objects. Streaks work the same way as in snap chat. Your streaks are safe as long as you practice daily and achieve your daily goal. If you miss out one day your streaks are gone unless they are safe with streak freezer.
The system consists of experience points or as used in the app XP, with each lesson you earn XPs. You win crowns as you complete categories and then you level up through leagues earning badges. As you do so Duolingo unlocks stories and you complete achievements like sharpshooter, conqueror, etc. As you complete challenges you can trace your progress. You can see where you stand among the random group of about 30 people. You can also compete with your peers. It gives an option of inviting people and following people exchange for which awaits a reward for you.
The teaching method begins with matching words with pictures, then column matching of words and their meanings. The study process also includes vocals like listening to pronunciations and recording your voice. It also checks you on writing meaning and ordering phrases and words. After completing a course you pass proficiency assessment and win that golden owl.
Learning a language could be made interactive if you put a bit of effort into engaging with it. All the lives we treat English as a subject and then complain about our inability to be fluent regardless of having good grades. We can get through February cannot March, but April May if we put some thorough thought into it.