Becoming Bilingual is Simpler Than You Think!
Being bilingual has so many benefits but learning a new language can be scary. What can be more intimidating than trying to memorise thousands of words you’ve never heard before, learning a grammatical structure that’s unfamiliar to you, and potentially feeling embarrassed by your efforts? And that’s besides just finding the time to learn all of that! It is often so daunting that many of us do not even bother to try. Luckily, recent research has shown that it may be easier than we think to learn a new language and it doesn’t have to take years of effort.
All it Takes is One Hour a Day
Experts have discovered that it is possible to make significant progress in learning a new language by spending just an hour a day on it. Understanding the basics of any language can happen relatively quickly with programs like Rosetta Stone or Duolingo that guide you through simple phrases and words. Before you can say “Ich liebe apfelstrudel,” you’ll be well on your way to becoming bilingual. To further fine-tune your proficiency in a new language in just an hour a day, try some of these methods:
• Start by planning an hourly schedule for daily practice that includes a variety of learning methods. Setting an hour aside to “hit the books” may not sound like fun, but by combining conventional study methods with other more social methods, it becomes more accessible.
• One such method is to watch and read materials you find interesting in the language you are learning. If you love cooking and you’re learning Spanish, buy a Spanish cookbook. You may end up with an inedible paella, but you’ll learn a thing or two about the new language in the process.
• Spend a minimum of 30 minutes away from course material, videos, and books. Use this time to practise the language face to face with somebody who is fluent in the language. Speak about the culture and do some activities while speaking the language. If this is not possible locally, try an online tutor.
• Maintain a consistent schedule. Just like learning to play a musical instrument or training for a sport, regularly practising for shorter periods of time is far superior to sporadically practising for larger chunks of time. This is because the brain does not engage in deep cognitive processes without having a consistent schedule.
Studies have indicated that by learning in this way and at this pace, basic fluency in a new language may be achieved in as little as 96 weeks, that’s just under two years to achieve something phenomenal!
Learning a New Language is Kind of Like a Superpower
According to research, there is a direct link between being bilingual and being intelligent, having good memory skills, and achieving more academically. Learning a new language can help you develop a diverse range of cognitive benefits. As your brain starts to process information more efficiently, it may even help prevent cognitive decline. Not to mention the intercultural competence you will achieve, which is in high demand skill these days. If you learn a new language, it may even feel like you’ve gained a superpower.