Learning New Languages and Why It’s Important

Ok I admit it. I binge watch a lot of Asian shows. Why? Because I’m very curious about their languages. It’s beautiful to me how they write with characters and what those characters represent. I know enough Spanish to pick up some words here and there but the thought of learning a new language terrifies and excites me all at the same time. Kids can pick up languages faster than adults. It’s like their minds are sponges but the majority of folks struggle to learn new languages.

I found a few things that might help you though. First, what are some of the languages that you want to learn? There are at least three for me. I’d like to get more proficient in Spanish, I’d love to love German, and I’d also like to learn Thai. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say that you want to say “I’m having a hard time learning this language.” In Spanish, this translates to “

Estoy teniendo dificultades para aprender este idioma.” Yes, I used a translator so please pardon any mistakes. In German, the translation is shown as “Es fällt mir schwer, diese Sprache zu lernen.” In Thai, the translation is shown as “ฉันมีปัญหาในการเรียนภาษานี้ C̄hạn mī pạỵh̄ā nı kār reīyn p̣hās̄ʹā nī̂”

I’m using the above sentence as an example because language is difficult for all of us at times. Especially when we are learning a new one. Europe is well known for speaking multiple languages. It’s the United States that is a little behind. Yes, we are getting better. We have a huge melting pot of cultures. The Hispanic community has become more prominent over the last decade. In many ways, I’m glad that we have more opportunities for everyone to be exposed to more culture. There’s a vast number of Asians and Muslims, Islamics, etc., who are residing in the United States as well. the point that I’m making is that if other countries take the time to learn English, that it’s very refreshing when you can understand what other folks from other countries are saying. I’ll give you a prime example. A few years ago, there were some farmers in the area who were comprised of Hispanics. They spoke in Spanish and thought that I wouldn’t understand anything they were saying. They were surprised and treated me with more respect when I was able to engage in a conversation with them. They help me continue to learn whenever I see them and I’ve gotten to know some of their families. It’s been a unique experience. I’ve learned more about their culture and their food. Some of the Mexican restaurants are not a true representation of their foods but it’s still delicious.

When I was in Japan, I was amazed by the Americans who spoke Japanese. I think it’s because the world I’ve surrounded myself with for years, had no one to push themselves into learning languages like this. I think that’s one of the reasons that watching Asian shows has become so endearing to me. I can learn key phrases from all over the world by allowing myself room to grow.

So, now that I’ve gotten you thinking about languages, what’s the best way to get started? Well, for one, look for programs that are reputable that won’t break the bank. I personally like Babbel. It’s a great starter and engages you in fun exercises and activities that help bring the languages to life. Rosetta Stone is great too. They tend to be pricey but well worth it. Memrise is another app that is wonderful to help you learn and sharpen your language skills. It’s really important to try to learn a language different from your everyday language. You never know who you are going to meet or come across and those skills could come in very handy. If you know someone who speaks a different language, you might ask them to help you learn. My former Spanish teacher once told me to listen for five minutes a day to a radio station that played the language I was trying to learn and I would start picking things up. She was right. We have so many resources at our fingertips that the only thing keeping us from expanding our knowledge base is us.

One of the reasons that I watch foreign shows a lot is because the story line is more intriguing. There’s still a lot of imagination that is utilized in some of these programs. To me, that’s refreshing.

If you’re thinking about learning a new language, choose one that interests you so that you are more likely to stick with it. Don’t just go for one because you think everyone else is doing it. Make learning fun for yourself (translation of this sentence below.)

สร้างความสนุกสนานในการเรียนรู้ให้กับตัวเอง

S̄r̂āng khwām s̄nuks̄nān nı kār reīyn rū̂ h̄ı̂ kạb tạw xeng, Machen Sie sich das Lernen Spaß, Haga que el aprendizaje sea divertido para usted.

Have fun with learning. There’s a ton of languages out there to choose from Good Luck! (Bueana Suerte!)(โชคดี Chokh dī), (Viel Glück)

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