by Sherie Raymond
Most people want to learn a new language. It helps open up your world and immerse yourself in another culture. It's one of the most common New Year's resolutions.
However, most people end up trying only to give up days, weeks or even months later. With all the possibilities that we have today, it's hard to see why. Languages are available now more than ever - you can learn from the comfort of your sofa while sipping coffee.
But still, that doesn't improve the statistics.
We all do this thing where we get the latest resource for learning languages - whether it's a book, a tutor or an app. It's natural. We believe that the problem isn't in us but in the way we are learning.
How many times have you excitedly purchased a new book or proudly informed your friends that you are taking the hot new language class? Probably too many. Now think about it - how much have you really learned? Can you form a full sentence in that language?
This is the main issue. People spend money on an endless number of 'helpful resources' and end up not using them at all or using them for a very short amount of time.
Some say it's about perfectionism. And it might be - people like to be amazing at something from the start. If they aren't, they will likely give up. Making mistakes - which naturally comes with learning - is hard on adults.
But there is more to it - it's not just about perfectionism.
One of the biggest issues that people have to face is their own fear. Of being ridiculed, of failing, of losing face.
This is what people are thinking about when they make a mistake. Instead of seeing it as an excellent opportunity for learning, they see it as a terrible event.
They see it as something to be embarrassed about.
This is why people could use some courage instead of more resources. Not only the courage to make mistakes but also courage to step out of their comfort zone and do the things that can really help them learn a new language.
Books can't help you as much as a real life person can - but it takes courage to speak to someone who you feel is better than you in that one thing.
So, instead of grabbing the next wonder book off the shelf, try grabbing some of that courage and venturing out to the world.
It isn't easy to learn a new language. But, it can be done if you have the right tools. We already mentioned courage - but there are some actionable steps you can take while using that courage that could take you much further in learning a language.
Languages often share some words and you can learn a language a lot easier if you recognize these words. You'd be surprised how many of them there are. Learn to form sentences with them.
Speaking the language is the most important thing when learning. You need to develop your language skills. Ask a friend to learn with you and you can have daily conversations in that language.
There is a myriad of free services that you can use without paying any money for them and often they turn out to be much better than those expensive ones. For one, use phone apps like DuoLingo or Memrise which both turn learning into a game and help you learn faster.
Don't be afraid of making mistakes. They are not something scary but opportunities to learn and grow.
This is the fun part of learning. You get to watch movies and listen to music while learning. Turn on the English subs and pay attention while watching. Read the lyrics and translations.
The important thing is that you are involved with a language on a daily, conversational basis.
Many free services nowadays offer opportunities to speak to natives. You can teach them English while they teach you their language and you both win.
Remember to always be consistent with your studies. Set a time each day when you'll pay attention only to studying and nothing more.
Learning the most commonly used words is going to give you a great head start. You'll be able to speak somewhat fluently with the natives and learn new things faster.
Is your dream to be a polyglot? If yes, then all you need is some courage and endurance. Throw away old, dusty books and immerse yourself in a language and persevere until you learn it completely.
Sherie Raymond works as an education writer and editor with Origin Writings. Sherie likes to write articles for educational magazines and blogs on topics of medicine and education. In her free time, she enjoys yoga
Writing systems | Language and languages | Language learning | Pronunciation | Learning vocabulary | Language acquisition | Motivation and reasons to learn languages | Being and becoming bilingual | Arabic | Basque | Chinese | English | Esperanto | French | German | Greek | Hebrew | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Latin | Portuguese | Russian | Sign Languages | Spanish | Swedish | Other languages | Minority and endangered languages | Constructed languages (conlangs) | Reviews of language courses and books | Language learning apps | Teaching languages | Languages and careers | Language and culture | Language development and disorders | Translation and interpreting | Multilingual websites, databases and coding | History | Travel | Food | Spoof articles | How to submit an article
If you need to type in many different languages, the Q International Keyboard can help. It enables you to type almost any language that uses the Latin, Cyrillic or Greek alphabets, and is free.
Note: all links on this site to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.