When it comes to learning a new language, people are often daunted by the challenges that await them. The feeling of incompetency rises especially when you hear native speakers who seem to speak so flawlessly – you cannot help but think that you will never reach that standard! While it is true that learning a foreign language is not easy, it is definitely not impossible. Get to know the common difficulties that people face when learning a new language, and how you can overcome them:
Motivation to get started
When deciding to learn a new language, it can be challenging to even get started. It is easy to pick up a few words or phrases from other speakers or television shows in the language, but it takes real effort to make time to learn the language formally. One way to get over this is to find your motivation for learning the language. Are you learning it to be able to converse to the locals on your next overseas trip? Or do you want to be able to read your favourite comics in the original language? Setting a goal gives you the motivation to get started.
Where to get started
Another difficulty in getting started is where to begin with the language. Any language would have anything between tens of thousands to a million over words. Some of them have vastly different grammatical structure from that of your native tongue. All these may seem very overwhelming to learn, but remember – you are just a beginner! You don’t have to master the language in a day. If you have a specific goal, you can use that as a guide as to where you should begin. For example, if you want to learn this language for travel purposes, start with essential phrases that you will need to use to get around.
As mentioned, any language would have a vast bank of words for you to learn, and it is a common difficulty to not be able to remember them as quickly as you wish. To counter this, it is useful to pace your learning into manageable chunks. For example, set yourself a number of words you want to learn and remember every week. The most effective way to remember new words is to use them. Thus, it is helpful to find ways to practice the language frequently, be it through reading, watching films, speaking to a conversation partner, or writing a journal.
Speaking to native speakers
Even after attaining a certain level of proficiency in your new language, it can be intimidating to have to speak to someone who is a native in that language. That’s because they speak much more fluently, and may use slang that you do not learn from formal language instruction. There is also an inevitable sense of trepidation for fear of embarrassing yourself speaking to them. To get over this, it is best to start with speaking to someone you are comfortable with. This may be your language teacher, or a friend you have who speaks the language. Having someone who will be patient and understanding will help you allay your fears of speaking in the new language to a native speaker.
Despite the numerous challenges in learning a new language, the process can be made easier with the right learning methods and learning attitude. For example, taking up a beginner language course can help you structure your learning from the very beginning, and provide you with the opportunities to practise the language with your classmates and language teachers. Whichever language you are embarking on, ease your language learning with reliable courses such as Korean classes, Chinese classes, and Japanese classes in Singapore.