Do you know some people can speak more than four languages? Yes, there are. Anybody speaking more than four languages is multilingual and only three percent of people in the world can.
Less than one percent of people are also proficient in many languages but if a person is good and can communicate well in more than 5 languages, then such person is already a polyglot.
Polyglots are part of a special breed in the world and it is easy for them to learn new languages. If you are not a polyglot, then here are ways to learn a foreign language.
1. Learn the Right Way
Most people try to take in as many vocabularies as possible thinking that they will be able to speak a foreign language like that. Most often than not, it doesn’t work that way. All the words in a language do not need to be known before you can learn a language.
For example, the English language has about 600,000 to 1 million words, but guess what, you don’t need all the words to be versatile or write a book. The top 100 words make up about 50% of English language texts, and the top 1000 make up 90% of the texts.
Hence all you need to do is to find the top 100 words of these languages and master them.
I tell you assuredly that you can’t learn any language from “scratch”, one way or the other, you know some words from other countries. Do you know why? Because these words have been mixed into other words. Like the English language, it borrowed words from French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, etc.
When you hear words such as pronunciation, solution, and tradition, then you must know that they are borrowed words from French and all you have to do is to change the “tion” at the back to “cion” and you are already speaking French.
Cognates are here to help you improve well when studying a new language, so one thing to look out for when studying a foreign language is to look out for cognates. Words like these make learning easy.
One of the ways to learn cognates faster is to search for words that are cognates. For example, Latin cognates word in English and it will bring them out for you.
3.Use the Language Daily
You don’t have to visit a country to learn their language. Several people have been living in a foreign country for years and they do not know how to speak the language. Just like in Nigeria with different tribes. There are Hausas in Yoruba land who can’t speak the Yoruba language. Same with traveling out of your home country and going to a francophone country, it doesn’t guarantee you speak French well.
Language immersion is very different from learning it. Immersing yourself in a language helps you learn it faster and one way to do that is to love that language and be interested in learning it.
Also, you don’t have to visit a place to learn their language. Technology has made it easy for us to learn a language without leaving our comfort zone. One popular app for learning languages is Duolingo. It is important that you log in to Duolingo every day and pass a phase or rank or you will lose your record.
Duolingo made it so that you do not have a choice but to learn every day. It gives points for coming every day and the points can be used for specific things on the app. That way, you find yourself speaking the language every day.
4.Make Use of Mnemonics
Mnemonics is the art of playing with words with the sole purpose of not forgetting them. When I was learning about some judicial cases in school, whenever I needed a case to stick in my head for exams, I played with the case. For example, Joel V Morrison is a case in Tort law, on the topic Frolic and Detour. Guess what I did, I will joke with my friend that why is she Joel Morrison? Lol. It means why is she frolicking. It’s a case from 2 years ago, but because of how I played with it, I still remember.
Hence, if there is a foreign word you are learning and you can’t seem to keep it in your head, then turn it to something funny or relatable. For example, a word in French is bonjour. Bonjour means hello in French. To memorize a word like this, you can say Born in July, all you have to do is remove the “ly”. This is exactly how I put the name of cases in my head if I can’t remember them. That way when you say born in July, you remember; bonjour.
You can create mnemonics yourself or use different apps or sites. A recommended site is http://www.memrise.com/.
5.Carry A Pocket Dictionary
When learning a foreign language, a random word will just pop up in your head either while chatting or sweeping. Guess what? You can quickly pick your dictionary and check what it means. Most often than not, especially when you are just starting, you tend to randomly remember some words but you can’t place the meaning.
That is why the pocket dictionary is needed every time you randomly remember a word but not what it means. Also, a dictionary helps to go through new words every day. Pick a word per day and learn it and its meaning. When you have learned the most 100 common words, then making use of a dictionary will be easy to do.
One thing you should know as you learn a foreign language is that you are going to make a lot of stupid mistakes and say a lot of stupid things. However, that shouldn’t get you discouraged as that is bound to happen. You can’t run without walking nor can you walk without crawling.
A lot of people have learned foreign languages before you and a lot will do after, don’t give up on your learning. There are several advantages to learning a foreign language. It gets you connected to different people in different countries and also gets you a job.