Learning a New Language – How Easy (or Difficult) is It?
Today with have a guest post by Abby Nelson
I have a friend who can speak four different languages; and he’s not the kind who gets by with a few strategic words and sentences, he’s fluent in them too. If at all I envy anything in him, it is this multilingual ability which I know I can never emulate. Now while eternal optimists would tell me to never say never, and offer additional advice that anything is possible if you set your mind to it, those who are more realistic understand that learning a new language involves many different variables. For example:
- Popular belief has it that children pick up a new tongue faster than adults; but that’s not really true. What’s true is that kids who learn a new language before they reach puberty speak the tongue without the accent that makes it easy to identify non-native speakers. Adults and children are equally good at picking up new languages when exposed to it on a prolonged basis.
– Learning a new language is fastest when you try your hand at the spoken lingo, and the easiest way to do this is to spend time around native speakers who don’t speak any other language. This is why most of us pick up a new tongue within a few months of settling down in a foreign country where the local language is different from the one you speak. Necessity is the biggest motivator when it comes to picking up a new language – your survival instincts kick in and you initially pick up the basics necessary for communication; and with the passage of time, you learn more of the tongue and become more fluent in the language.
- When you learn a new language by listening to and speaking it, you pick up the vernacular slang and not the grammatical version of the tongue. So while you may be a proficient speaker after a while, you may not understand other aspects of the language.
- It takes effort to learn how to read and write the native script of a language. Some languages are easier than others if you already have the foundation laid to facilitate learning the script. For example, if you know how to read and write English, it’s easier to learn how to read and write languages that use the same script. You may have some difficulty with the pronunciation, but with a fair amount of practice, you can soon pick up this aspect of the language as well. Languages with complex scripts are the hardest to master to read and write.
So in conclusion, I think it’s safe to say that the ease or difficulty with which you master a language depends on personal necessity and motivation to learn the new tongue; so what’s a breeze for you may end up becoming an uphill climb for me and vice versa.
About the writer
Abby Nelson writes on the topic of Masters in Counseling. She welcomes your comments at her email id: abby.85nelson< @>gmail< .>com