Learning a new language is a useful skill for a plethora of reasons. One cannot deny the rewarding feeling that you get when you are on holiday and your streak on Duolingo gives you the boost you need to order your meal in the native language! Or if you are at a more intermediate level, think of the satisfaction of not only starting, but also maintaining a conversation that is not in your mother tongue. Grasping a new language is a gateway to cultural understanding, personal enrichment and even enhanced career prospects. I left the UK in September for a Study Abroad year in Venice, armed with one sentence that I had picked up along the way: il delfino mangia il pesce (the dolphin eats the fish) – useful, I know! I have since, thankfully, expanded my vocabulary to more practical phrases and have found a few tips and tricks that might be handy!
Grasping a new language is a gateway to cultural understanding, personal enrichment and even enhanced career prospects
You should surround yourself with the language and its relevant culture as much as possible! Watch movies with subtitles, listen to music or spend time around native speakers. The more you expose yourself to the language, the easier it will be to grasp it. In addition, it is an opportunity to learn the colloquial words and phrases that might not always be taught in a textbook or in class. You could even set your phone to the new language.
Concentrating on listening and reading exercises is all very important, but don’t forget to make oral practice a priority too. Many would agree that the most rewarding aspect of learning a new language is being able to speak it, so make sure to practice pronunciation and intonation to achieve more natural sounding conversations. You can do this by engaging with native speakers or by practicing new vocabulary out loud.
Learning a new language does not happen overnight. Rome was not built in a day and neither was the Italian language! Perseverance and consistency are key to success. Hold yourself accountable by scheduling short sessions every day or week for practicing the language and maintain motivation when it gets hard – don’t give up!
Learning a new language does not happen overnight
Remember that learning a new language is a marathon, not a sprint, nor is there a ‘one glove fits all’ approach. What is important is to find a practice routine that suits your goals and schedule – it is essential that you enjoy the learning process and don’t find it a chore. So, as I have recently learned Italian, buona fortuna!