Everyone needs to pick up new projects now and then, and one of the more productive hobbies I can think of is learning a new language. This I say based on experience, having learned a couple of languages myself.
Some people may have concerns about the difficulties of learning a new language, and those concerns may be totally valid. However, these concerns need not stop you from learning. Here are some useful tips which can help language learning be easier for you.
Tweak your thinking patterns
This is the best tip that I can share with you, really. After all, learning does start and happen in the brain, and you first need to align your thinking patterns with your goal (or goals for that matter).
When it comes to learning a new language, you actually are also discovering a culture that is probably different from yours. As such, you might face the need to change your thinking patterns.
Depending on your situation, immersing yourself in an environment where the language is spoken everywhere can be an easy thing. For example, if you live in an area (or near an area) where Spanish is spoken naturally, then spending time with speakers of the language will hasten your learning process.
The rationale is rather obvious, as you will be more exposed to the use of the language. Additionally, you open yourself up to opportunities to use the language yourself.
If it is not possible for you to live in an area where you can physically immerse yourself, there are alternatives. Take advantage of what technology has to offer! Everyone lives with some sort of technology intertwined in their lives. Why not make the most of it?
You can still somehow immerse yourself, albeit virtually. Look for web sites, forums, and chat rooms where you can meet people interested in language learning, people who speak the language you are targeting. This is not a difficult task, and you will certainly benefit from it.
Be open to mistakes
This is very important as well, and it also stems from the brain. As a matter of fact, it is also part of adjusting your thinking patterns. I think that it is human nature to be afraid to make mistakes, and this is even more common when it comes to learning. When you speak to other people, their reactions may make you even more averse to making mistakes. While they probably have no bad intentions, it can still be embarrassing for you. But only if you allow yourself to think that way.
If you make a decision to not let your mistakes get to you, your learning experience will be more pleasant, not to mention more effective. Think about this: everyone makes mistakes. Even if make mistakes as you practice speaking a language, at least you are learning something new!
The fact that you have decided to broaden your horizons by picking up a new language is no mean feat by itself. It is within your control to make the experience as easy and pleasant as you can.
John Damper is a seasoned traveler who makes it a point to pick up languages during his longer trips. In the second half of this year, he is going one step further by enrolling in a Thai language school.