Did you know I speak more than one language?
My mom is from the Dominican Republic, making me half-Hispanic. I’ve been raised speaking English and Spanish my whole life! I’ve gotten a lot better, though. When I was about 5 or 6 I had a bad case of speaking like a gringa lol. But now, my mom even claims I have a Spanish accent when I speak English (that’s literally the highest compliment)! I can also read and write in Spanish, which are considerably easier in comparison to speaking and using it in conversation, but they are very useful skills to have. I could travel to so many countries and be able to converse with the locals – at least mostly, since there are different slang terms and dialects to worry about.
About a year ago, I also decided I’d embark on the great adventure of learning Italian. My mom took intensive classes while she was in college. It was with a native italian teacher and it was 2-3 hours per day. That’s how she met her best friend Carolina, and absolutely fell in love with the language. It’s very similar to Spanish, but I am fascinated by it and it’s so fun. I already understand about 95% of it, and I speak it quite well, too.
And, to add to the list, I’m getting into a language a friend introduced me to, as well! So, lots of language learning is going on here! lol
If you’re in high school, it’s probably required for you to take a second language course. You’ve probably heard dozens of lectures on how learning a language helps you be smarter and do well in school, and while that is true, that may not interest you.
Chances are, you may find it, well, boring. That’s why a lot of times, teens don’t keep much, if any, of the language learning they did in school.
If you are interested in learning a new language (and not pulling at your hairs while you are at it) read on to find out how you can make language learning easy and fun, too!
- Read Books! If you’re as much as a bookworm as I am, reading new books would be a great motivator for learning a language. Choose something in a genre you enjoy – thriller, historical fiction, dystopian, fantasy, whatever! If you associate the language you’re learning with the adventures you’re reading about, it’ll make it easier to remember. In my case, I can’t stand cliffhangers – so I will learn enough to get me past it LOL
- Entertain Yourself – Listen to music, watch movies, and watch TV shows in the language! If that’s a step too high, put on subtitles, if available. This will immerse you more in the language, because you’ll get to see real-life applications of conversation. Usually when you learn Spanish, for example, you’re taught basic words and phrases, but not how to use them. Music, movies, and especially TV shows will show you how to use it in everyday, normal life.
- Find a Buddy – What better than to find someone to speak the language with? Nothing compares to real life verbal practice. There are several websites you can find a pen-pal or even locate people around your area who speak the language. Of course, if you have a friend who is learning the same language, you can also try speaking to each other. Practice makes progress!
Learning a new language can seem like a daunting task. But, I see it as a key to a whole new world of possibilities. In my case, I can travel to basically all of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and also Spain and understand/communicate almost everything! That is insane and also awesome. Soon I’ll also ‘unlock’ Italy on my list, which I am looking forward to.
What language are you learning or would like to learn? Do you have any tips for making language learning fun?