How to Learn a New Language

By Sharifah Sakinah | Last modified 13 Mar 2019
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Are you trying to pick up a new language? Not long ago, a video of a 14 year old Cambodian boy who can speak more than 10 languages had went viral over the internet and you know what’s even more impressing? The boy is a self-taught linguist!

The video shows the boy conversing with a Malaysian visitor in different languages in the Angkor Wat.

To attract more customers to buy his souvenirs at the popular tourist spot, the boy has taught himself to speak in more than 10 different languages, including English, Italian, Russian, Tagalog, Japanese, Vietnamese, German and three dialects of Chinese.

The ability of speaking different languages has a lot advantages including increasing one’s competency in his or her career progression.

The inspiring story of the Cambodian boy proves that his ability to speak in different languages has brought him a lot of opportunities that he has never foreseen.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s roll up our sleeves and see how we can learn a new language like the talented boy!

Do not be shy, speak more!

Speaking is the easiest way to learn a new language. Most of the people especially adults are too shy to speak when they are learning a new language because they are afraid to make a mistake.

It is very important to get our tongue used to the pronunciation of the new language and it is not achievable when we’re not talking.

As we speak, our muscle memory will help us to accustom to the pronunciation of the new language. If you’re too shy to start a conversation with another person, practice with yourself first.

It might look weird but talking to yourself can get you more comfortable with the new language if you’re not confident to talk to other people when you’re just starting to learn.

Get out there and make some friends

When you’re comfortable with the new language after practicing with yourself, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone.

You can practice it with a friend who is learning the same language or even better, a native speaker of the language.

I’m sure they will be able to give you some constructive advices to improve your language. Observe the way they talk and try to learn it, just like how the polyglot Cambodian boy learned different languages from foreign tourists.

Watch movies, learn and chill at the same time

Leaning a new language and enjoying a movie at the same time? It’s killing two birds with one stone!

Watching movies has always been one of the easiest ways to learn a new language. Learning a new language by watching movies is very fun and enjoyable as you can enrich your vocabulary and train your listening skill at the same time.

If you’re new to the language and couldn’t catch the words, turn on the subtitles in the language that you’re learning with translations in your native language so that you can understand what they’re talking. It’s also a good way to train your reading skills too!

Keep a note with you

Get yourself a tiny notebook that you can keep inside your pocket or handbag and bring it anywhere. Jot down the words that you don’t know with their meanings so that you can revise them whenever you have time.

You can utilise your time while waiting for the bus to come by having a quick revision if you have your ‘mini dictionary’ with you.

Make it a habit to go through the notes before you go to bed too and try to memorize them while they are still fresh in your mind.

Make use of the technology

The advancement of technology has made learning a new language so much easier. You can have your private language tutor (yes, it’s a language learning app) available 24/7 and learn anytime, anywhere.

There are so many language learning apps available on the app store, like Duolingo, Memrise, Buusuu, etc.

To ease the learning process, some of the apps have interesting graphics and audios with other useful functions like dictionary, thesaurus and reminder which are very helpful in learning a new language.

Practice, practice and practice!

Last but not least, do not forget to practice, practice, and practice. Learning a new language takes time, all you need to do is keep trying and keep practicing.

Practice on your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills until you can write and converse in the language confidently, good luck!

Posted on 07 Mar 2019
Student Life, Useful Tips