I recently have moved to the United States from a country in Africa. I speak English, but it’s not my first language. I know more than one language, which is why I sound funny to your ears. Learning another language is something anyone can do. If you want to leave the United States to visit another country, you also might sound funny because you will be speaking English in a different country. If you want to learn a new language, you need only to follow these steps.
Determine how you learn.
When you go to learn a language, you have to know how you learn.
Everyone learns differently, especially with languages. For example, you could do well with a technique that involves a lot of repetition, through writing down the words or listening to a native speaker. You also will have to know if you are a visual, auditive or kinesthetic learner. To learn which style you are, try choosing a few words from your language and read them over a few times. If you can remember them the next day you’re probably a visual learner. You could try having someone else read them to you. If you remember them, you are an auditory learner. If you still can’t remember the words, read and write the words, repeat them out loud, listen to them read to you by someone else, associate memories and feelings with them. If this process works, you are a kinesthetic learner.
Learn how to pronounce the words.
The language might have the same letters, but they won’t sound the same. For example, Spanish has a silent h while English has a sound for h. The Foreign Service Institute provides free online language learning materials, or you can visit your library for audio recordings that help with learning pronunciation and books that give pronunciation tips.
Grammar is important.
After you learn vocabulary, you have to learn how to put it into sentences. You have to be careful with the other language’s grammar. You have to know the rules. For example, many languages put the adjective after the noun while in America, you put it before the noun. Consider the structure of the language and how the articles work (masculine, feminine, neutral). Learning the structure of the language will help you understand how it fits together once you start learning different words. You have to know how to express questions, affirmative and negative statements in the past, present and future tense using the 20 most common regular and irregular verbs.
Memorize 30 words and phrases each day.
After 90 days, you will know about 80 percent of the language. Memorization is necessary to have a handle on the language. You can choose many ways to memorize your words. You can practice each word a dozen times. Put the words in sentences. You will be able to think about the words when you need them. You have to keep practicing the words after memorizing them. That way you won’t forget them.
Know the Alphabet.
To help you learn the alphabet try linking the letters to pictures and sounds. Your brain will then have a way to see the letter and the sound that accompanies it. For example, if the letter sounds like “ah,” you might think of a patient in doctor’s office with a tongue depressor in his or her mouth. The associations can be silly if that helps you to learn. You might also have to read it a different way, such as right to left or bottom to top.
So you see, you can have a funny accent too if you learn these steps.
Featured photo credit: When You Have More Than One Language via google.com