Travel and Culture

How to Learn a Language at Any Age

We are well in to the new year so many will have either forgotten their new years resolutions or simply quietly moved on without them. But if you’ve thought about learning a new language, now is as good a time as any.

You may be interested in learning one of New Zealand’s local languages such at te reo Māori or sign language (this could even help a family member) or perhaps another language has always fascinated you.

Either way, why not get started today? Here are some study ideas that may help you learn a new language.

You can pick up a language dictionary from your nearest book store or even the local second hand store or online store. If you have a smart phone there are many apps that can be used to help you with your language training.

This will take you back to school – practice makes perfect. Study daily and make sure you practice out loud too. Repetition and practice, repetition and practice. Repetition. Was that repeated enough?!

Use a sharpie and write words for every day items and stick them around the house. Once you know the words well, remove the post its. Fridge, cupboard, window, mirror, washing machine. Get sticking – the brighter the better!

Children’s books help kids with the basics – mum, dad, sister, table, chair and so on. These books can be really helpful especially if you are a visual learner and would prefer not to have your home covered in post-its.

Many shows are available online in your chosen language. Try YouTube and get searching. You will be surprised at what is available out there – generally these wouldn’t show up as your computer will have setting to show your preferred language but they are out there.

Connecting with a native speaker can be fantastic as they can really help you with your dialect and pronunciation. There are language exchanges available where a native speaker will swap an hour of conversations with you. So if you speak English and they speak French, you can spend an hour on English and an hour on French. So you can both teach either and learn – it’s a win win.

This can be easier said than done but full immersion is one way to fast track yourself to learning a language especially if you’re in a foreign country and need the bathroom. It’s amazing how quickly you can learn. Many will want to learn a language before visiting the country but a few of the tips above and then visiting the country earlier can be great. Why wait?!

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We all do it and that is how we learn. It can be embarrassing trying to pronounce words that are new and tricky but go ahead and make mistakes and learn from them and progress. Just give it a try.

So often we think it’s too late to learn something new but why? There is no reason for this. If you want to learn a language, it’s not too late, it never is. So, get those post-its, get the apps and get learning.

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