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Secrets of Learning a Language I

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Traditionally, courses to learn languages were focused in the study of the grammar, rules and a series of practices, which are based generally in the repetition of exercises to learn those rules. I think it is still being done that way in the schools today, although I am not sure at all. Maybe someone can comment something about this.

But, does it really work?

I think that it is enough to check the results to realize that… not much. In fact, since forever people who really want to learn a language tend to move to the countries where the desired language is spoken, which has a lot of sense.

But let’s go to the beginning, how is a language really learned?

To know the real process, we only have to take a look to those old times where every one of us learned a language with great success: the childhood. All the children of the world learn to communicate effectively in their mother language. This is already a positive data: the ability in inside all of us.

How do they do it? They simply discover it. Children have an open relationship with their environment; they play, explore and get to know it. They look at the people. In this process, they learn how to identify objects or people; they recognize them and start associating words to them, until they finally understand the meaning. That is, in the moment that they make associations they start understanding, and after understanding comes the execution.

  • That is why it is that important the use of images in the learning languages process. The mind is prepared to associate.

Little by little, they understand every time more words and after that, more and more complex constructions. Because the important thing is the idea, the language is a mere vehicle to express it. Therefore:

  • To understand a language is the first step to speak it.

That means that the first part of the learning is the comprehension. So, from the beginning, it is too important to be in contact with the native language. To start, it would be probably interesting to focus in the vocabulary and in the listening. Without any doubt, it is fundamental to listen to it. Today there are loads of resources to get it, such as podcasts, videos, programs, series, movies, etc. There are suitable materials for all the levels and adapted to all the tastes, and the best thing is that you can choose them according to your personal tastes. Do not forget it:

  • Listening to a language is the most effective method to learn it. Use always materials suitable for your level and if it is possible, about topics that amuse you.

TO BE CONTINUED

Also see: Secrets of Learning a Language IISecrets of Learning a Language III