How I Learned 4 Languages

by Robin Satterfield
Taylor Magazine Minimalist guide to life
Learning foreign languages has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It helped me to experience many cultures more intimately, and it also helped me to grow as a person. I currently speak English, French, Spanish, and Korean, and due to my experiences with others trying to learn English, I know better than anyone that learning English grammar can be difficult. So, take it from me that you can do it! Here are a few useful tips that helped me to continue learning, even when I felt like giving up.
Memory Tricks
Our minds are very unique and each person holds their own set of tools to help them remember things. Think about what helps you to memorize things. For example, do you remember every theme song from 90’s cartoons, even the ones you didn’t watch too often? You probably have music as your memory trigger. Or, do you tend to remember activities? For example, do you remember a detailed, play-by-play description of how you won that basketball game in 1995? If so, movement is probably your memory trigger. There could be dozens of memory triggers, so think about which one fits you, uniquely. Some people will just learn best from listening to someone instead of associating the language with music or movement. In this case, investing in a private tutor might be the best option for you. For example, this Spanish course is taught by a qualified tutor who will be able to adapt to your needs and make learning a language as easy as possible.
Once you’ve got that figured out, roll with it. One of my memory triggers is music. Whenever I learned new vocabulary, grammar rules, or complete phrases, I would create a short song about it. If your memory trigger is movement, try studying while exercising. You could listen to a podcast in the new language while taking a jog, or you could practice repeating specific words while doing jumping jacks. Find what works for you, and keep doing it.
Humility
It’s human nature to not want to be bad at things, especially in public. I work as a part-time English teacher and the most common reason why my students struggle with the language is pride. In order to learn a new language, we must let go of ourselves, make mistakes and look ridiculous for a long time until we can start to sound coherent. What can help with humility when pride starts to block our language-learning process? -Focusing on our long-term goals. If we see beyond immediate results and value persistence, we can quickly get through the more difficult beginner stages.
Immersion

The best advice on learning a new language: Immerse yourself. If you don’t have the luxury of travelling to a foreign country to pick up the language, there are plenty of things you can do at home. Watch movies in that language, find online communities, read books, listen to the music. You can even teach your friends a few words in your new language. Sometimes teaching is the best way to learn and retain.

Those are just a few tips. If you’re learning a new language, keep it up! It’s hard work, but the results are extremely rewarding.

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