“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” – Charlemagne
Learning a new language can be a challenging journey, as it requires effort and determination to overcome the obstacles that lie ahead. However, as the quote attributed to Charlemagne suggests, this struggle is akin to gaining a second soul. The process of language acquisition opens doors to new cultures, perspectives, and ways of thinking, enriching our understanding of the world. In this exploration of the struggles faced while learning a new language, we discover how embracing this endeavour can lead to personal growth.
Afraid of making mistakes
Mistakes are an inevitable part of the human experience, and it’s natural to feel a sense of aversion towards them. We often shy away from showcasing our flaws or shortcomings, fearing judgment and criticism from others. However, avoiding mistakes does not lead to growth or progress. Instead, we should adopt a different perspective – we learn from it. Embracing our mistakes allows us to recognize areas where we can improve and develop. As the wise words of Nelson Mandela remind us, “I never lose; I either win or lose”. This points out that every mistake presents a chance to either succeed or to learn, making each step of our journey towards self-improvement a win in itself. By welcoming mistakes with open arms, we cultivate resilience, wisdom, and the courage to keep pushing ourselves forward.
Don’t know where to start
Let’s say we’ve decided to learn a new language but not quite sure what is the right way to start. Ask ourselves, why? Is it for work, study, ease of travel or one simply feel like it? This in turn will motivate us to pursue that new language acquisition and hopefully, prevent us from giving up halfway through our journey.
Next, set a short or a long-term goal according to our intention as described above. We may decide on a daily or weekly plan to allocate designated time to learn or practice that new language. Make use of online resources that are easily accessible and some of those are free. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from experts near us or simply contact them online. They can guide us in choosing the right materials or pathway in ensuring a higher chance of success. If we have extra money, we may opt to subscribe open learning courses and micro-credentials from renowned universities or learning institutions. These platforms usually award certificates that are appropriate to be used for various purposes such as career advancement, job interviews, expanding expertise and building good networking.
Lack of learning strategies
Once our goals and intention of learning a new language has been identified, now we need strategies that would work. This can be challenging, but exciting at the same time.
Begin with basics. Learn new words and phrases. We can do this daily, weekly or anytime we prefer. No pressure! Try to identify commonly used words and phrases from conversations with native speakers and from various media like songs, blogs, YouTube, podcasts, entertainment shows, books, magazines or any other materials that we can find. We may try to imitate how those words are being pronounced in a conversation and identify the context where the word is being used. And then, repeat, so that we will remember better. Mastering everyday vocabulary will boost our confidence in daily conversations by using that new language.
Apart from that, we can create a study routine for consistency. Being consistent will boost our success rate. Dedicate regular time for language learning efforts even if it’s just a few minutes each day, it will be worthwhile. Be patient. Remember, learning a language takes time and effort, but the journey can be rewarding as we connect with new cultures and expand our horizons.
On a final note, learning a new language is a challenging yet rewarding journey that opens doors to new cultures, perspectives, and personal growth. Embracing the struggle of language acquisition allows us to possess a second soul, as Charlemagne eloquently put it. While being afraid to make mistakes and having uncertainty about where to start may hinder our progress, setting clear goals and utilizing online resources or expert guidance can keep us motivated and on track. Learning strategies, such as mastering everyday vocabulary and creating a consistent study routine, contribute to our success. Patience is crucial, as language learning takes time and effort, but the experience of connecting with diverse cultures and expanding our horizons makes the journey worthwhile.
Wardah Mohd Zuraimee
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)