All of us at some point in our lives do consider learning a new language. Maybe it’s because you want to study abroad or to boost up your resume or simply because of your K-pop fandom. Whatever the reason may be, the idea of becoming bilingual or a multilingual speaker does have its perks. But nothing in life comes that easy. I came across many people who worked every day to be fluent in their target language. So, before you start learning do consider these things that can help you along the road.
Say goodbye to Google translator:
“It is a bad idea to use it, especially for us Bengali speaking people. Every language has its own complexities, be it for grammatical structure or word stock, and Google translator, as a system, cannot comprehend it all. I found bizarre Spanish translations, but in Bengali, it’s even worse” says Nusrat Maati a former student of Institute of modern languages (IML).
Try using a pocket dictionary or a dictionary app instead. It helps to get the proper translation along with a variety of examples. Apps like Duolingo, FluentU, Memrise are great for practice because of their interactive features. So, don’t be lazy and install away.
Try to accept the language barriers:
It’s crucial to bear in mind that each language has its own attributes. Things get super easy when we find similarities but can get twice as much hard when there aren’t any. So don’t get overwhelmed when you see new things that are absent in your native language.
French and Spanish languages are generally gender based. Every object is either masculine or feminine which makes it hard for a non-native speaker to differentiate between them. It can get quite frustrating at the beginning for some.
Watch Movies, TV shows, Talk shows, and YouTube Tutorials:
Developing your listening ability at the beginning is the right way to go. Many language learning methods focus on very strict listening activities. To make your listening activities fun try watching shows or movies with subtitles. Also, like always YouTube can offer you many basic language tutorials.
“Watching movies did help me a lot. It automatically helped me enrich my vocabulary, learned how native speakers communicate and helped to develop a better accent. Plus, it was a good source of entertainment too” says Marjuka Afzal currently doing her diploma at Alliance Franceas De Dhaka.
Commitment is very important. Never take your language classes for granted. If you want to learn properly make sure you don’t miss out on classes on a regular basis. And if you are leaning at home don’t take long gaps in between. Dedicate 2/4 hours weekly for practice.
“Continuity should be the primary concern. I remember missing out on quite a few classes back to back on sentence making and grammatical structure. Later when I went back after a gap I was not able to catch up.” Says another student of IML Noor Uddin Saikat.
Don’t just memorize without context:
Even if you get long verb lists from class or the Internet. Don’t just memorize random words at once because language is a matter of processing. Start with the very basic daily used words and try making sentences with them.
“When we learned new German words, we primarily were given pictures. Started with naming the things in the classroom, or grocery shopping list, or a trip to the airport. We hardly ever needed to memorize” says Trishna Mutsuddy a former student of Gothe institute.
Communication is a must:
No matter how many lessons you take or how many audiobooks you practice. None of this will do you any good unless you converse with people. If you are already taking classes in your target language, talk among your classmates. If you are learning on your own, find someone who is a better speaker than you. One hour of conversational practice with a person helps you more than doing five classes.
It will take hours and hours of awkward and embarrassing conversations before you learn to speak without errors. “I remember once our Spanish instructor asked my age. And I accidentally said that I was 109 years old” says a Yoga teacher Shahnaz Sultana.
According to Jaime Cossa, a language Instructor at IML, the ability to master a language differs from person to person. For an average person, it can take 6 months to a year to do very basic communication. But it wholly depends on your motivation and the effort you put to it. If you are willing to make this commitment there are many places in the city from where you can get a degree. For each level, it may cost you around 8-10 thousand Taka minimum depending on the place and course you take. However, if you don’t have the time for that, consider learning at home. Purchase audiobooks, dictionaries and use all the online sources you find that can help you along the way. It may seem like a lengthy process now but the benefits you get afterwards are countless.