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So You Want to Learn a New Language? Here Are Some Tips and Tricks From a Multilingual Person.

Learning another language is never a waste of time. Not only does it help in advancing your career, it also helps you in many other factors. Studies have shown there are many cognitive benefits of learning languages. A second language improves memory, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills, according to Lead With Language

 

Growing up in a culturally rich, tropical country, I was learning three languages at home and English at school. By the time I was a teen, I had already mastered four languages. But be assured, I was literate in only two of them, English and my mother tongue, Bangla. Due to that, I was interested in learning even more languages, and when my family immigrated to America, I had the opportunity to learn Spanish at school. And while in quarantine, when I was bored to death (like we all were), I took an online free course on Korean and learned basic writing and intermediate speaking. Now, I can proudly say I am literate in three languages and can speak six languages. 

 

A lot of my friends and even teachers have asked me: how did I learn so many languages? Was it easy to learn? Are some languages harder to learn than others? What helped me in learning them? And this is where this article comes in. I understand there are a lot of other people who are interested in learning another language as well, so from a multilingual person, here are some tips and tricks:

 

Pick a language you genuinely want to learn.

True, having multiple languages in your resume will make you look professional and well-learned, but don’t learn a language just because of that. Choose a language you really want to learn, and have been very curious about it. Choose a language that you know will make you proud when you speak it. You can also choose a language based on a culture you admire. Or music you listened to. Latin music has been very trendy for the past couple of years. And a lot of people started learning Spanish due to their love for music. I personally started learning Korean because of Korean dramas and variety shows. I wanted to be able to enjoy and get the full experience of the shows without having to look at the subtitles. Thus started my journey of learning Korean. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right language for you. 

 

Find multiple ways to practice and learn.

This is not for a class, or for a grade. You don’t have to fervently study every night for three hours in your notebook to learn it; though some people learn it better that way. What I am trying to say is that you can learn from what works best for you. I learned Hindi from my TV. No kidding. I learned the entire language just by watching dramas, movies with my grandparents, and mom at home. They always had something playing on the TV, and as a kid with nothing better to do, I would watch it for hours and hours. Next thing I knew, I was speaking Hindi fluently. So, if you are a visual/auditory learner like me TV shows and movies will do the trick for you. Same with music. Of course, you will not perfect it just by your fourth time listening. It will take multiple practices and hours of listening. But hey, if you really enjoy the music and the movies, time will be moving faster than that. Some people learn it better by conversing with other people, which brings me to my next tip.

 

Don’t be afraid to speak with other people.

Conversations, conversations, and more conversations! You have to speak with people in that language if you want to improve and correct your mistakes. Just practicing grammar will not make you better at speaking. Having conversations with real people will. I was afraid at first too. When my new neighbors moved in, I could hear them speaking Spanish. My mom was forcing me to talk with them but I was scared. However, I gathered some courage and said “hola” to the mom, Rosa. She gave me a big smile and a hello. I eased up seeing her smile and started making a conversation, and long story short we are very good friends now. Be brave to take the first step. Initiate the conversation. Trust me, people love when someone speaks their native language. It makes them happy to know someone is learning their language. So, don’t be scared and do your best. 

 

Well, that was all the tips and tricks I had. Honestly, I am no expert but those tricks really helped me get better. But one thing to always remember is to be patient with yourself. You are not going to learn it overnight. So give yourself time and you will see the results!

A Neuroscience major, minoring in Communication, Aseya has spent half her life in Bangladesh before moving to the States. When she is not busy watching TikTok, you can often find her studying and stressing about the future :)
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