Whether you’re planning to live somewhere else or want to learn for the sake of fun, learning a new language is not an easy feat! You need to have a sharp mind and quick wit to grasp everything about the language before you go about creating complete sentences. Most of the time, it’s more tedious than fun, but we’re here to teach you an easier way to learn a foreign language.
What’s more surprising is the US’s leniency in studying a secondary foreign subject at school. This research study states that while many European countries—like France, Italy, and Poland—learn a compulsory foreign language during primary schooling, it’s not the case in the US. You can click here to see more. This can be a big reason why many American tourists find difficulty when within a non-English speaking country.
Although this case can’t be generalized, it’s still strongly urged to learn a language before moving or touring a European or Asian country. It is not just for the sake of the people living in the area you have to interact with, but for also yourself. Knowing the language means you’ll be less likely to get lost, stand in line for a purchase, or get scammed.
The Stages Of Memory
Memorization can just be another part of learning a new language, or it can be a great help to speed things up with understanding it. Memory can be likened to a muscle in the body. The more you train it, the more it gets stronger. The more you flex it, the more efficient your learning process is. Learning the right strategies focused on effective memorization can result in a long-term, memorized foreign language.
The brain stores words using a specific process. According to psychology, this process is done so we will have an easier time accessing it later. It is called the Stages of Memory and consists of Encoding, Storage, and Retrieval stages.
Encoding happens when new information is introduced to us. This further information can be encoded through sight, touch, or hearing. Both short and long-term memory go through the first stage before sorting out the information.
The second stage is Storage, and it consists of categorizing information to stay either in the short or long-term memory storage. Short term can be phone numbers, names, or even sometimes places. Long-term consists of your own personal details, details of the persons closest to you, relevant information such as relationship statuses, etc.
The last stage is retrieval. This is when we take what was inside the boxes and use them in a particular situation. It is obvious we want it to land in the long-term memory box in learning a new language. Many strategies are done to ensure the learnings are efficient and stay longer for practical use.
These three stages are part of memorization, a technique we relevant in learning. As we move on to tips for easy learning of a new language, see how memorization and memory stages fit into all of these.
Tips For Easy Memorization Of A New Language
The first tip would be to look into your creative mind and make use of its pleasures. Because our mind is wired to the fact that learning is equal to studying, studying is a tedious task (unless you personally like it), tricking our mind into learning a language through creative means is a fun and easy way to learn. These mediums can be in the form of TV and Music.
Music has been with humanity for millennials. It’s been one of the oldest forms of art that carried meaningful messages and feelings until today. Using music as a medium for your learning can be useful, mainly because of repetition. And because repetition (like nursery rhymes) can help a baby learn to speak, it can teach you another language as well.
The best way to learn a foreign language is to pick a familiar song sung in that language. Any song that you either grew up with or is the booming trend today would do. Singing along is also greatly encouraged, as your mouth needs to get to know those words and how to enunciate them properly. It can also teach you idioms, colloquialisms, and other unique cultures of that country.
Our suggestion is to make a playlist of foreign songs and play it repeatedly every day. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to speak normally or even converse the language you learned from a song.
Again, repetition plays a vital role in this medium, as well. If you’re planning to move to Spain, watching telenovelas (with or without subtitles) can be both a treat as well as a learning experience. It can help you as a language learner because they repeat vocabularies and other common words repeatedly throughout the program.
Watching foreign TV shows and other programs can also teach you how to converse well. Taking telenovelas from Spain again, most of the characters interact with each other 90% of the time. Though telenovelas are often exaggerated, their pronunciation and vocabulary are still the same as that of a regular day-to-day conversation in Spain.
Watching anime (Japanese cartoons) and reality shows can also help you learn Japanese while still not embedding yourself into the idea of studying it. As many Japanese words aren’t pronounced as their romaji form writes them in, it is imperative to learn how they speak certain words.
For example, Onegaishimasu is a polite Japanese word for “please” and is spoken without pause or breath. The u at the end is also not typically said. Thus this word can be pronounced as o-neh-guy-shimass. This is just one benefit of using auditory and visual learning skills in learning a foreign language.
Earlier, we discussed memory and its stages. The second stage being Storage, where information is stored over time. The information ends up in which box has something to do with how well you digested the information in the first place. And the more you understood the information, the more it stays inside your mind.
Memorization can be useful here, but with some or fewer ideas at best. Anything beyond that will exhaust your brain and block out the necessary information. Learning a new language means learning 500 new words and beyond, connecting them to form sentences with the proper subject-verb agreement, and understanding idioms and metaphors behind it. Memorization will fail you where Mnemonics won’t.
A few ways to use this technique are to create funny or memorable mental images, word similarities, use acronyms/abbreviations, or your memory palace. However, the easiest way is to associate familiar words with new ones and use acronyms and abbreviations.
In med school, many students use this technique to remember the order of a group of symptoms, the full name of a disease, the numerous muscles, bones, and nerves, or the order of stages/processes. A simple concept to connect this with is the Stages of Grief, which has the acronym DABDA. DABDA stands for Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Acceptance, Depression, and Acceptance.
Other than the word being a catchy thing to say, it also sounds like a beating heart. Many students connect it to a heart breaking in grief and can easily conjure the information from their storages, like a key to lock.=
Today’s digital age is the longest trend to exist. It will be weird if you do not have your phone within arm’s reach or be glued to it scrolling through your social handles. Websites, like language throne, offer you a comfortable learning journey! They can be in the form of an app, website, or a language class. Whatever your tastes might be, the internet has all the accessible resources!
Use Word Origins
Another tip to follow for easy and effective language learning is word origins. Knowing where a word comes from can be a straightforward history lesson which—if interesting enough—can land in your long-term memory storage for easy retrieval.
Etymology is a study where you discover origins of words both modern and ancient. You can easily imagine mental images and concepts to the word or sentence/metaphor through this process.
For example, a common English word “finish” actually comes from the Latin word finis, meaning “end.” In old movies and western cartoons, it is shortened to fin placed at the end credits.
A Filipino word pareho means “the same.” It has Spanish origins and is very similar to the Spanish word pareja. The Philippines got colonized by the Spanish for 333 years, and settlers left a mark on the natives, both culture and language.
Another tip would be to use cognates. Cognates are words that share a parent origin, which can help you learn words faster since you will be familiar with them. An example would be bio, a Latin word meaning life, and its cognates would be biology, an English word meaning the study of life, and biologia, a Spanish word of the same meaning.