There are many misconceptions about learning a language – you have to be “Talented”, you need to actually live in the country and so on. Now let’s take a look at expert Chris Lonsdale’s TED talk, and take a look at the 5 Principles and he describes as being key to learning a language- and do it within 6 months.
Principle 1 – Learn language that is essential to you! If you are walking in the woods and you see some scratches on a tree, you probably will forget about them in 2 minutes. If you see a bear’s footprint, you will be at full alert and have that image ingrained in your mind probably for days. If the language, phrases, vocabulary you are learning is helpful, important to your survival, your lifestyle, interest or goals, it’s going to stick.
Principle 2 – Use your language as a TOOL to communicate from DAY 1 You need to remember: You are not learning Chinese/Japanese/Spanish. You are learning how to COMMUNICATE IN Chinese, Japanese Spanish etc. i.e. The more you use your language to communicate, the quicker and quicker you will be able to communicate. Practice communicating in the language, not just learning vocabulary and verbs.
Principle 3 – When you get the message then you will acquire the language. Do your best to pick up the message that the person is trying to convey – look at body language, facial expressions, tone, posture. Don’t focus on the words, focus on the message. Personal example: When I was in Korea, we stopped to get some coffee. As the waitress explained the menu to my girlfriend (who is fluent in Korean) I could see the waitress was nervous. Then by the intonation it sounded like the waitress was admitting something.
Principle 4 – Language learning is about Physiological training Just like learning to move your muscles to do a new Yoga pose, You need to train your ears to pick up new sounds. You need to train your mouth and vocal chords to make the right noises. If after practicing a lot of your target language, your mouth hurts, you’re doing it right!!
Principle 5 – Your psycho-physiological state (mood) matters. If you’re pissed that you’re not understanding everything or worried you’re getting the wrong meaning, you’re not going to be in a position that allows your brain to learn! You need to be relaxed. Don’t worry about getting everything, just be happy about what you DO understand.
Got a story for us? Need to tell us about something amazing you’ve seen or done? Want us to investigate something? Get in touch!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and you could even earn money for your stories or tips.