It is not a bad thing to want to learn a new language. Why not make it one of your goals for this year? It would be a perfect accomplishment actually, especially if you are planning to move abroad sometime soon. Give it some thought but meanwhile, here are some challenges to keep in mind.
Most language learning programs will challenge you to speak up, sometimes in front of strangers.
This is a major concern in language learning. Most people feel embarrassed muttering phrases that often don’t make sense. While there’s enough criticism about such learning methods, it would be your undoing to allow embarrassment keep you from achieving your goal. While at it, remember that you are not alone – that everybody gets self-conscious and that fear can rob you opportunities.
2. Lack of Goals
Another challenge most people face, even though they often don’t recognize, is a lack of specific goals for wanting to acquire a particular new language. Of course, wanting to know the language is a goal but it may not be very easy to measure and therefore attain. Perhaps you want to be able to count, make a few sensible phrases, and maybe introduce yourself well enough in two weeks’ time.
Say, introduce yourself well enough. This would make a better goal – it is specific. It is measurable.
3. Little Exposure
Typical language learning programs take place in a classroom setup. The exposure of one to a new language under this method is usually quite limited. It would be very difficult for you to master the target language and acquire some relative fluency in it. The challenge, therefore, is to surround yourself with the new language in your everyday environment and activities through immersion.
This implies watching TV news broadcasts in your target language and radio en route to work.
As an additional emphasis on this challenge, you will also want to note that the more exposed you are, the better command of your target language you will have. The truth is that with more exposure, you will know more vocabulary to improve your choice of words. You will also have the better pronunciation of the words, and the structure of the language will just feel more natural.
4. Limited Time
Time is perhaps the biggest challenge in language learning and yet it is a very big requirement. We are committed to our work and families most of the time and we never get enough to spend learning a new language. This is one of the things we need to change to make progress.
There are online test softwares that can help you learn a new language faster and make use of the time that would have been wasted. These tools ensure you can set a flexible time to take the tests, monitor progress, and set new targets.
Translation is a common thing in new language learning. This is because we tend to assimilate what we learn with what we already know. It’s easier that way but it’s a challenge when learning some languages because they may be very different in tone, structure, and inferences. Say Spanish for instance. You could say for example “yo soy 30 años viejo” – meaning that “I am 30 years old”.
If you are familiar with Spanish you would realize this is wrong. it makes more sense if you say “yo tengo 30 años” – translated to English it’s; “I have 30 years”. This again you realize does not make much sense in English. The secret thus is to let go the notion that the construction of one language is similar to another and simply put more emphasis on learning your target language as it is.
Perhaps this should remind you to learn more by listening and speaking and not grammatically.
Something else worth noting is the idea that you need to be patient with yourself, to put some effort in your learning and to enjoy the process or rather, the journey. You would relate this to your learning of the first language. You may not appreciate, but it actually took you some time and thus you can expect learning a second or third language would also take a considerable period of time.
As an emphasis on the first and second challenges herein, it would be important to mention that unless you open your mouth and speak, acquiring a second and or third language may not easily stick. The truth is that your mastery of your target will only come with practice. You would also want to keep track of your goals by noting them down, ticking, and setting new ones as you make accomplishments of the old. The advantage of this is that you’ll often feel encouraged upon success.