It seems that one of the greatest regrets many people have is that they never took the time to learn a new language. However, it’s not too late! As a matter of fact, it’s an excellent pursuit for seniors with plenty of time on their hands. It’s easy to see why learning language programs are the talk of the town.
These language programs that are available for purchase online are opening the door for people who think it’s too late to learn something as complex as a new language in a relatively short period of time.
ADVANTAGES OF SPEAKING MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE
Needless to say, there are many advantages to taking the time to learn a second language. Even if you’re not perfect in speaking a second or third language, at least knowing important words and phrases will benefit you in your travels.
I once met a Swiss woman who spoke not two, not three, but five languages fluently. For several years we would meet up at different USA cities and cruise the Caribbean together. Let me tell you, it was a treat traveling with someone who could speak pretty much any language you might come across on the different Caribbean islands.
Switzerland is a tri-lingual country(well four languages if you include Romansch). Depending on what Canton you live in, the main spoken language is either German, French, or Italian. She learned all three. Because she managed a Swiss pharmacy, it was essential that she learn English as it is the international language of pharmaceuticals.
She decided she might as well learn Spanish because it was linked closely to the romantic languages Italian and French, two languages she was already fluent in. It wasn’t unusual for her to go on three major holidays a year, and having all these languages at her disposal was a huge plus.
When we went to Martinique or Guadeloupe she spoke French, If the next island was San Juan, no problem, she just spoke Spanish. When we went to any of the USA Virgin Islands, like St. Thomas for example, she spoke English. Hurray! A language I could speak.
Once we were at a Club Med in Martinique and I was pretty impressed when she spoke German to a woman beside her, French to the bartender serving us, and English to me. She never missed a beat shifting gears from one language to the other.
I truly believe one of the greatest benefits of speaking different languages is the respect and gratitude you get from the locals no matter what part of the world you visit. Whether you are fluent in French and visit France or Martinique, the locals are always impressed that you took the time to learn their language.
HOW HARD IS IT TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE?
No doubt about it, adults are famous for finding it difficult to speak a new language. You are not alone in this regard. It’s well known that a child will learn a new language much easier than an adult. It’s mainly because at a young age their brains are super-flexible and incredibly open to learning something new.
Two of the more obvious reasons why learning a new language is difficult for adults is the time involved to practice and challenging your mind to construct new cognitive frameworks. It’s almost like learning how to swim with a certain stroke whether it’s efficient or not. Your muscles have memory and will repeat that same inefficient stroke over and over until you break down your entire swim stroke and teach your body the correct method.
It’s not much different teaching your brain to deviate from the language you have spoken exclusively for pretty much all your life. Kids don’t have that problem because their brains are wired to learn new skills easily. They are not set in their ways and indeed have super-flexible brains.
Exhaustive researches like the one conducted at McGill University have found that better-performing participants in a second language study had stronger connections between brain centers involved in speaking and reading. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to speak a new language. No matter how well you adapt to the learning, it’s still very good for you.
WHY ARE YOU LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE?
This is an important consideration. The reason why you would like to learn a new language will have a huge bearing on how quickly you learn.
For instance, a Frenchman who is about to marry a woman who speaks only English will be very motivated to learn her language. The opposite is true as well for the woman who will make a concerted effort to learn French.
It’s especially important at in-law family gatherings. You will pretty much be sitting there bewildered and left out of the conversation as your significant other is speaking in their native language.
Maybe you are learning a new language just for the joy of it. Imagine the fun you could have immersing yourself in a language class or taking Spanish or French cooking lessons when all you speak in English. It’s so much easier to learn a language if you are immersed in the culture.
College students who go overseas and live for six or eight weeks with a French family will learn the language very quickly out of necessity. This is the ultimate definition of French Immersion. You immerse yourself in the culture for an extended period of time as opposed to using your rudimentary second language ability on a two-week trip to France.
EXCELLENT TIPS FOR SELF-IMMERSION
Not everyone can make a trip to France to stay with a French family for a couple of months. However, there are other ways to immerse yourself in a new language.
Instead of your standard Facebook page, why not have a Facebook page set up in a new language you want to learn. So all the posts to your Facebook page might be in French as opposed to English.
The beauty of this method is that you can set up a language translator and check to make sure you understand what is written. Eventually, you will have to look up fewer and fewer words and phrases as you get accustomed to looking at the language you are trying to master.
All your social media accounts can be changed to a different language and not just Facebook. You can listen to music and podcasts in your new language.
You can perhaps try watching foreign language documentaries, cooking from foreign recipes. or reading non-fiction and magazines.
The most important consideration is to not be too hard on yourself. There will be ridiculous moments when you first start out. There is no need to feel embarrassed or to fear failure. In fact, you should be commended for even trying to learn a new language.
THE BEST NEW LANGUAGE PROGRAM
If you are intent on learning a new language, the Babbel method of learning a new language might be your best bet.
There are several advantages to using Babbel as your language program of choice.
(1)Babbel introduces new words in an incremental way. If you are on a crash course for a trip abroad, Babbel tends to incorporate more conversational phrases and pronunciation lessons as compared to most learning programs.
(2) On Babbel, all your replies are in the “foreign” language as opposed to the source language.
(3)Babbel’s mobile app is much like being on their website. Most language programs aren’t quite that well developed.
TRY OUT BABBEL FOR FREE
The Babbel method of learning a new language is certainly worth a try. They even offer a free introductory course, so what do you have to lose by trying it out?
People like free stuff, but paying for something as valuable as learning a new language seems like a no-brainer. Just think of the advantages on a monetary scale.
Just trying to get a taxi driver in a foreign country to understand where you want to go can be a hassle. Worse yet, how can you negotiate a price if you have no idea how to speak the language? There are many places in the world where you will be taken advantage of once they realize you don’t speak their language.
The money you stand to save by having second language skills can likely pay for the cost of using the Babbel Method of learning a new language.
You won’t be disappointed.
There’s a reason why the Babbel learning language programs are the talk of the town.
Would you like to share your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page.