How to Learn a New Language

By Jason Black
By Jason Black

There are lots of interesting languages to choose from, but of course some are easier to learn than others. For example Spanish is one of the easiest languages to pick up, while learning Mandarin will be more challenging. However, the more time you spend learning a language makes the next one that much easier to pick up.

Why not spark your interest even further in a particular country or region by studying up on its history first? You will gain a deeper appreciation for the place and its people by doing this, and it will give you a good perspective as you go forward and dive into its language.

Learning Spanish has become more popular than ever with so many people traveling  to places like Mexico for vacations or even going to live in countries where Spanish is spoken.  Most of us want to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible so finding a good program to get this option is best but not the only way.

You have many options in our modern world to learn a new language. One place to start is by asking yourself how you learn best – audio, some visual aids, reading, the computer, one-on-one, or a guided class?

A quick way to start dipping your toes in this water is to pick up a translation guide. These come in small, easy to carry formats that you can take with you if you decide to travel to the region. You can also start by getting a book or software program, to employ a more self-guided method. A nice, inexpensive way to start is by heading to your local library. They will likely have audio courses, or even DVDs that you can check out, so you can hear the language spoken plus you might want to pick up a travel guide or some literature from the area while you’re at it.

Take a course. Check out online listings in your city to see where and when courses are available. They may be held at a local community college or university in their continuing education programs, or offered more informally at a community center or after hours in an office building.

Tutoring – you can seek this out through a local college or university, in online places such as Craigslist or other places where people promote services such as this.

Whichever method you choose, practice is key. Don’t worry about speaking something perfectly. A new language takes time, practice and ideally immersion. Get a tape recorder and compare yourself to an audio file. Listen to yourself and hear how you improve over time.  If you are choosing to do this with a friend or partner, start talking to each other exclusively in the language whenever possible. Head to a Spanish or French or Chinese restaurant, for example, or other cultural event in your city and try out the language. Practice, practice, practice!!

For even more detail on methodologies for learning a new language, check out Wikipedia, where you will also find many more helpful links:

Your 50s are a great time to focus on your personal development. There are many activities that you can get involved in that take less time and are easier to do, but why not stretch and challenge yourself in a whole new way. Our world has much to offer and experience. Learning a new language at 50+ can be a rewarding journey, giving you a sense of personal fulfillment while helping to protect yourself as you get older from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a process that you can continue on with for as long as you like. Learn the basics, or continue on to higher levels, or even learn a couple languages or more over time. You are in a new and important time of your life, one that can be as interesting, engaging, exciting and rewarding a time, as those that came before. Expand your horizons – life can be an adventure filled with fresh new things to help you grow and evolve even further and build new memories to cherish. Learn a new language, then pack a bag and travel to the destination if you wish and put it to use!

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