Dzisiaj chciałabym zaprosić Was do przeczytania gościnnego wpisu popełnionego przez autorkę świetnego dwujęzycznego bloga English en Francaise. Kasia jest lektorem języka angielskiego i przygotowała dla Was krótki tekst o początkach nauki nowego języka obcego. Wiele osób uczących się języka obcego od dłuższego czasu, automatycznie zapomina ten czas, kiedy stawiało pierwsze kroki w nowym języku. To bywa frustrujące i często zniechęcające. Kasia w pigułce podpowiada jak się uczyć, żeby przetrwać ten najtrudniejszy moment. Wszak początki są zawsze najtrudniejsze :)
So, let's start!
Adult language learning: How to start learning a new language and succeed in it? 5 simple steps that you already know but refuse to accept.
1. CHOOSE A LANGUAGE THAT YOU’RE SURE TO USE IN THE FUTURE.
Yes, I agree that putting Japanese in the Languages spoken section of your CV will look impressive. But don’t you really have anything better to do than learning a new alphabet? Will it make your quality of life significantly better when you finally manage to introduce yourself in Hungarian? I thought so. Come on, let’s be reasonable here – majority of us weren’t born to learn stuff just for fun. Especially when we become older. We need goals to stay motivated, even if we strongly believe it’s not true. So, dear friends – learn a language that will be useful for you in the future. It’s not important whether you need it for work or travelling. But, you should need it. For something. End of discussion.
(Unless you’re a child prodigy/ genius/ future pope. Then learn whatever you want and don’t pretend you need any advice on the matter).
2. DON’T FOOL YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN DO IT ON YOUR OWN. YOU CAN’T HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH A BOOK, CAN YOU?
No, you will not learn a foreign language by sitting at home with an expensive course book recommended by a friend of a friend who totally learnt it just like that. Sure, you can get the gist of grammar and vocabulary but try to have a conversation during your next foreign holiday and you’re doomed. A course book doesn’t prepare you for anything. It just presents the rules and gives you the tools you need for the second part of the learning process, namely – practice. And only after you practice a bit with your teachers, friends or family can you go to the final step, called PRODUCTION*.
Accept the simple fact – the main purpose of learning a language is to speak it. Reading and writing comes after. That’s how the nature wanted it and nobody wants to fight with Mother Nature.
So, take some private conversation classes, organize foreign evenings with friends who learn the same language or visit international chat rooms – all in all: COMMUNICATE.
* PPP (presentation, practice, production) is a famous notion in methodology of language learning that highlights the 3 necessary steps to language fluency.
3. SET YOURSELF REALISTIC GOALS AND ENJOY THE PROCESS OF LEARNING.
The worst thing you can do is to give yourself a precise period of time in order to arrive at a certain level of proficiency. Why? First of all, 90% of us are overoptimistic about our learning capacities at the moment of deciding to learn a new language. Secondly, we become over pessimistic the minute we understand that watching our favourite TV series in the original version will have to remain a dream for another year (or five). Don’t stress yourself out for no reason – we all learn at a different pace, but we all manage to succeed in the end. If we don’t quit on the way, of course.
4. EXPOSE YOURSELF TO THE NEW LANGUAGE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. BEFRIEND YOUR DVD!
You’ll be surprised to notice how much your learning accelerates when you spend 30 minutes by day watching your fav TV series in its original version. Depending on your level, you can start by watching it with the subtitles on (in the language you’re learning, of course!). It will help you get used to the pronunciation without being frustrated that you can’t follow the plot. You can also note down the vocabulary you’re not sure about and check it later in a dictionary.
A tip for the beginners – start with children shows (most of the programmes on Disney Channel are available in the original version). Ok, it’s not that interesting when you’re in your 30’s but trust me – the feeling of satisfaction that you’re watching something in a foreign language and actually understand some of it – PRICELESS!
5. BE SYSTEMATIC!
No excuses. Every week, you must do something. Translate a song you like, do the homework your teacher gave you, learn 10 new words or re-read the notes you took during your last learning session.
Remember the old saying – IF YOU DON’T MOVE FORWARD - YOU MOVE BACKWARDS.