Learning a foreign language may seem as a long and daunting process. It takes years to learn it and you never quite finish learning it – in fact, it’s a continuous process that lasts a lifetime. Don’t let that scare you – learning languages is a beautiful and rewarding journey if you know how to enjoy it properly and get the most out of it.
Don’t Be Afraid
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be a afraid of making mistakes, not remembering a word, not being able to pronounce correctly, not being able to write well, mixing the tenses, using the wrong tense. You will not look like a fool even if you feel like one. Don’t be afraid of what natives or those who know the language better than you might think. It’s their problem, not yours. Most of the time the natives will be glad that you know only a few words in their language and will encourage you to continue learning. If, by any chance, someone does laugh at you, it says more about them than it does about you. Malicious people are just malicious people. Let them be. But most importantly- don’t be afraid to make mistakes!
This might seem strange to you as we all naturally tend to first think in our respective mother tongues and then try to translate it to another language, however, it creates unnecessary confusion in the mind as it has to juggle two languages at the same time which requires a lot of training. Furthermore, the sentence structure of your mother tongue is not the same as that of another language. It might be similar, which adds to the confusion. You have to be a professional translator with years of training and experience to successfully pull it off. What you should do instead is to try to think in that language instead of your mother tongue.
Don’t Depend on…
Don’t depend on your teachers, natives or people who know the language better than you. Depending on others makes your brain lazy and your mind sluggish. You don’t make as much effort as you should when you know that you have help. No matter how hard you try, part of you will always know that you can always fall back on a teacher if you don’t remember or don’t know something. It makes the process of learning a language a long ordeal, making you wonder, after many years, why you don’t advance. Simply put, by depending on others, you don’t let yourself advance.