6 ways to make language learning easier

In a recent interview, British astronaut, Tim Peake admitted that learning Russian had been “the single most difficult aspect” of his training.

It is hard to believe that learning a second language was more demanding that all the preparation astronauts travelling to the International Space Station (ISS) must undertake. This includes enduring huge amounts of g-force, getting used to really tiny spaces and learning how to “spacewalk”.

However, it doesn’t end at physical tests. In order to get to the ISS, all astronauts must travel with the Russians on the Soyuz spacecraft. As all the controls are in Russian everyone must learn the language before being allowed into space.

Some of us will relate to the problems faced by Tim when learning a second language. We need to learn a certain new language for work but sometimes we’d prefer enduring g-force rather than go through the irregular verbs in French once again.

Like any other skill, some people find it harder to learn a language than others. And like any other skill, if you persevere and practise you will learn and eventually, master it.

There are several ways to go about this to make the learning journey and pleasurable and efficient one.

Find out what type of learner you are. You can find more about this on our previous blog article. In a nutshell, think how you prefer to learn: reading and writing, listening to instructions or getting stuck in and finding out rules yourself. Once you know what method of learning in general you prefer, try and use this as much as you can.  It’ll be more efficient and quick. Learning anything using a method we are not suited to will lead to frustration and will not yield positive results in the long run.

Set realistic goals. Think about how long it took you to learn your own language. Acquiring a new language is a marathon, not a sprint. Once you relax and stop panicking things will fall into place.

Integrate language learning in your daily routine.  Use the language you are learning when reading instructions, or from recipes on the internet, or to read the news. The more you are exposed to your new language, the more you will learn.

Have fun. Break away from your books from time to time. Watch a film, play your favourite video game in your second language. Do what you like in your target language.

Chat to natives. Using your second language often is the best way of mastering a high level. Whenever you have the chance, have a conversation with a native speaker. Not only you will practise your skills, you’ll also make friends along the way.

Set your phone interface to your second language. Using your phone in a foreign language will be challenging to start with, but gradually you’ll learn all the key words you need to navigate your phone comfortably and improve your vocabulary.


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