Guide to Learning a Language

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WHY START…

WHY START ….Language-learning exercises your brain, broadens your horizons and helps you meet new and interesting people…Have you ever been on holiday and wished you could hold an actual conversation with the locals rather than relying on a phrase book? Are you jealous of your children learning languages at school? Are you planning a holiday soon and looking to eliminate the language barrier? Have you always wanted to learn French? Spanish? Mandarin? Well, it’s never too late…

SUMMARY

Language — as you know — is how we communicate with one another, and let’s face it, if it wasn’t for language, we’d still be swinging from the trees and picking nits from each other’s fur. Language also happens to be the basis of everything we love to do. Yes, everything. We might stop talking in certain situations, but without language, we’d never find ourselves in those situations in the first place. Language-learning is cheap and can be done by absolutely anyone. The very young are naturally gifted at it because their brains are like sponges, but anyone can do it, and it really is never too late. It’s also true that learning a language exercises your brain. Although not a muscle, your brain behaves like a muscle, which means the more you use it, the better it gets. So learning a language actually stimulates and exercises the mind.It’s also the perfect way to meet new people and socially, it’s the gift that keeps giving. The more you learn, the more you can communicate; the more you can communicate, the more you get out of life. Plus of course, it makes you smarter and more perceptive, as well as improving your memory, all of which increases your overall enjoyment of life.

Why Start?

Language-learning is the perfect activity to kick-start your brain and broaden your horizons. It’s also great for meeting new and interesting people and making travel more exciting. Plus —learning makes you happy.

Who is it for?

Absolutely anyone — no specialist skills required. All you need is the desire to fill your brain with interesting new things.

Are there any prerequisites?

Nope. Just willing. If you want to learn a language, find the teaching methods that are right for you, and you are sure to succeed.

What are the benefits?

Aside from the boosts to brain and endless social benefits, learning a language is also great fun and speaking in a foreign tongue is exciting. It makes you feel like someone else.

How much will it cost?

It actually doesn’t have to cost anything, as there are so many free resources these days. However if you want a professional teacher, lessons generally start out at around £15 an hour.

Can I take it to another level?

There are as many levels to every language as you desire. But there’s no need to rush yourself. If you’re starting at zero, you need to be patient. Learning a language takes time and you don’t want to be aiming at mastery just yet. First step, learn how to introduce yourself, then take it from there…

What Equipment do I need?

An internet connection will enable you to connect with lots of learning opportunities. Or if you prefer learning the old-fashioned way, you might want to stick with books and audio.

Where can I take part?

There are so many online resources that you could actually start learning within a few clicks of a mouse. If you need the human touch, you could find a teacher close to where you live or find one that’s prepared to come to your home

Top Tips

Set up an account with Duolingo to begin to get a feel for your chosen language https://www.duolingo.com
Maybe look for a teacher on italki.com.  If you respond better to face-to-face encounters, check for local classes or even groups of fellow enthusiasts. Whatever language you want to learn, you can bet you’re not alone.

Facts & Stats

There are an estimated 6,500 languages spoken in the world at the moment — although around 2,000 of those have fewer than 1,000 speakers, so maybe avoid those. Studies have consistently shown that adults who speak more than one language suffer less from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Learning a foreign language improves your English too, making you a more effective communicator. The world’s oldest languages are Chinese and Greek. The language with the biggest vocabulary (and some of the most annoying grammar) is English, so if you already speak that, anything else should be child’s play.

Did you know…

A person who loves language is called a linguaphile whereas a person who can write or speak many languages is a polyglot. And the journey from linguaphile to polyglot is one of the most exciting journeys a human being can make. And it’s never too late.

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