Learning a New Language? You will relate to these 5 things!

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Learning a new language is very interesting. It is like going back to kindergarten and getting introduced to a world full of new and wonderful words. I found it to have a therapeutic effect as well because as a learner my mistakes are welcomed before being corrected. However, sometimes, I tend to take these liberties too far and make silly mistakes. Here are the top 5 silly mistakes I have made while trying to learn French, a language I recently started learning:

Asking silly questions 

Identifying the correct “gender” of the subject is my biggest challenge while trying to frame a sentence. With a limited understanding of the language and unlimited confusions in my head, the silliest mistake I make is to mess up the gender of the subject. To avoid making this mistake, I generally clarify my doubts with my fellow classmates. I have even gone ahead to the extent of asking one of my classmates, “So, in this sentence, should I refer to you as an étudiante (female student) or étudiant (male student)?” I wonder if I took my confusion to a completely new level with this sentence.

Hilarious pronunciations 

To get the pronunciations correct is a challenge for anyone who is new to a language, but for someone like me whose accent anyways fluctuates between Bangla, Bihari, American English, Punjabi and Australian English (depending upon who I am talking to), “Juillet (July) – the month” becomes “Juliet of the Romeo-Juliet story” more often than it should.

Trying stupid ways to remember new words 

On an average, I am expected to learn 10 words a day. Now, with an adult brain which is anyways struggling to assimilate information from all quarters, it gets quite difficult for me to remember all the new words correctly. So, one of my classmates came up with an interesting way of remembering new words, which can be really helpful for anyone who is not forgetful as I am. My classmate suggested that I remember the French words, which I tend to forget as a funny English word that has an identical (or close to identical) pronunciation. So, “le printemps (the spring season)” becomes “the Phantom” sometimes.

Speaking funny and broken sentences

About a month into learning French, the only resources I have at my disposal are the basics of grammar and very little vocabulary. With these limited resources, I often feel like a 2 year old kid trying to explain a surge of complex emotions to the world even when I have to simply request someone for a pencil. Coherent and complete sentences are rare. More often than not I end up communicating in broken sentences like “Je suis une chanteuse, but not that good”, which loosely translates to “I sing but not too good” (I know I making horrible mistakes).

Shameless flaunting

While I completely aware of my limited understanding of the language, I believe a little bit of flaunting is absolutely harmless. So, I love to flaunt the very little that I have learnt so far. From updating a famous French proverb as a cover picture on my Facebook profile to watching a French movie without subtitles (and of course not understanding a word of it), I am guilty of showing off my newly acquired language skill quite shamelessly.

I am not sure how long it will take me to master this new language but in the course of learning it, I have discovered a childlike excitement in me. I have rewarded myself for the smallest achievements and discovered the joy of unadulterated happiness in life once again. I have also promised myself – a trip to Paris, the city of my dreams if I perform up to my expectations in this course (of course, conditions apply**).

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Learning a new language: Easy tips and tricks

Recently I came across a video from Tim Doner, a 17 years old boy, who can speak 23 languages. I was amused, to say the least, because I struggle to keep up with four languages. English and Hindi are the languages I speak fluently and Bangla and French are the languages I am currently learning. So, this article is actually a note for myself after watching several How-to-learn-a-language videos and speaking to my language trainer.

#1 Know why you are learning the language. The purpose is what will keep you going.

#2 Have patience. At least give yourself 3 months before you decide to quit trying. Read an article about How long does it take to become fluent in another language?

#3 Set a goal and work towards it. Dedicate at least 2 hours everyday trying to learn new words, understanding the grammar and revising everything that you learnt so far.

#4 Hear people talk. Watch videos, movies and listen to some popular songs in the language you are learning.

#5 Download an app on your mobile phone. I use Duolingo. Use the app to practice what you have learnt so far. You can use this app while you are traveling to work, waiting for someone in a restaurant or practically any time when you have no other productive task at hand.

#6 Start speaking. Doesn’t matter whether all you speak sounds gibberish to an expert. Talk to yourself. Record your practice sessions. Correct yourself.

#7 Try to find a partner for your practice sessions. If you are taking formal classes, it becomes easy to find people who can practice with you, but if you are learning the language all by yourself with the help of the internet, try something like a Polygot Club.

# 8 Have fun with the language. Learn funny words, make funny sentences. Read some jokes online.

Tell me how it goes for you. Post some comments with more tips and tricks.

Happy Learning.

For now, Au Revoir!

bonjour

PC: essentialtravel.co.uk