It’s never too late to start learning. Forget about all those stories about how you won’t be able to learn a second language past a certain age. Studies have proved that people of any age can learn a new language.
Not to mention that learning a language can keep your brain young by adding some flexibility. Multilingual individuals who are learning a new language past the age of 50 can improve their brain’s health. Since you’ll be more determined and aware of your goals than most young learners, you even have better chances to progress in language learning.
A philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein famously said, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” If you have decided to break the barriers and open new horizons by learning a new language at an older age, here are some tips that can help you in that mission.
Decide on Your Path
Learning a new language is a complex notion, so you first want to break it down. Define your goal. Do you want to improve your speaking skills? Do you want to learn how to read? Do you want to improve your vocabulary?
There is probably a specific reason that has motivated you to learn a new language. Direct your learning towards that reason.
For example, if you want to mostly work on speaking skills, you should put more focus on that. If you want to learn a new language for travel, browse for material that can be useful for that purpose.
Keep in mind that you should be realistic about your goals. Aiming for fluency may be a stretch if you are starting from zero. Take it step by step and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Start with the Foundation
If you need to learn business Spanish, for example, and you don’t have prior knowledge, jumping straight to industry-specific jargon will be overwhelming. Whatever goal you have, build a foundation first.
Learn the basics of grammar and pronunciation. Take a beginner’s course online or check out if there’s a beginner’s language course at a local college or your community centre.
Having a tutor is also a great idea. They can adapt the learning speed to your learning abilities and style. Just specify the kind of learning intensity you want.
Show that you are dedicated to learning a new language. If you want to succeed, you have to be regular.
Make time at least 4 times a week to revise your learning material. There is no other possibility if you want to learn.
English and Spanish tutor and academic expert at Subjecto, Isabella Alvarez, emphasizes the importance of consistency when it comes to older learners. “Learners at an older age have to learn regularly if they want to notice results. Adults have so much on their minds that if they aren’t consistent in learning their brain will easily dismiss what they have learned,” said Isabella.
You may not be able to absorb a new language like a two-year-old, but you can still learn something through listening. Some adult speakers make a mistake of completely disregarding the value of “tuning their ear “.
The best part is that you can surround yourself with a second language through a variety of sources. Listen to:
- TV shows
You’ll see that there is more to listening than listening exercises. Have fun and learn the language along the way.
Find the kind of topics that interest you. The crucial aspect is that you pay attention. Be attentive to whatever you are listening to. If you need, pause the song, TV show, or podcast and find in the dictionary the unknown words.
Read Books and Blogs
Move past the textbooks and level up your reading game. Find inspiration for learning a new language in topics that interest you.
There are numerous books for beginners that can help you practice your reading. You should also take advantage of this digital age and read blog posts in a second language.
In case you’re travelling to a country where people speak the language you are learning, purchase their newspapers.
Choose the type of literature that you find appealing, and you’ll be more attracted to reading. You can even use that literature for writing essays. Pull out a topic from your reading material, whether that is a book or a blog. If you need help with forming a topic or you want an outline to help you organize the essay, you can reach out to BestEssayEducation or SupremeDissertations writing services.
Talk with Confidence
Do you know what holds back many adult learners? The fear of embarrassment. Don’t be one of those learners.
If you want to learn a language, you need to make peace with that you’ll make mistakes. Sometimes you’ll say something funny, and sometimes you won’t know how to express yourself. There is nothing wrong with that.
Work past your anxiety and embarrassment and speak up. Make mistakes. Mess up. That’s how you’ll learn.
If you are listening to an exercise or you’re watching a TV show in a second language, repeat what they say. When you’re in class, raise your hand to read out loud.
There are even websites such as MyLanguageExchange that can connect you with a native speaker. For example, if you speak English but you want to learn Spanish, you’ll get to converse with a Spanish native speaker who wants to learn English.
Talking to a native speaker will help you gain real cultural experience. You can even choose the level you want (beginner, intermediate, and so on).
You have to be courageous and push yourself. Talk in the second language whenever you can.
Learning a new language can be an exciting adventure for people of any age. Don’t forget that learning can be fun if you decide to look at it that way. Rather than stressing about every mistake you make and follow up that frustration with “I’m too old for this” or “I’m not cut out for this”, enjoy learning every step of the way!
Nicole D.Garrison is a content strategist, writer, and contributor at GrabMyEssay and a number of platforms for marketing specialists. She is a dedicated and experienced author who pays particular attention to quality research. At her free time, Nicole is a passionate runner and a curious beekeeper. Moreover, she runs her own blog LiveInspiredMagazine.