Are you fascinated by Korean Dramas? Do you find yourself attracted to French or any other European serials? Do you like anime and want to learn Japanese? And, do you wish to become a foreign language expert?
If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, this career counseling blog is just for you!
We all know English. We are also fluent in our native language. But sometimes, certain programs fascinate us and make us want to learn that new language.
It may be a genuine curiosity to learn that language or it could be because we just want to follow the serial or drama without the annoying subtitles. However, learning a foreign language has many more advantages!
For starters, you develop a whole new perspective on the culture of a new country. Your brain gets a good workout learning a new language. Language learning ability diminishes by the age of thirty. Not to forget, there are numerous promising careers for people who know a foreign language.
At the moment, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and French are in high demand and people who are well versed in these languages can pick and choose jobs at MNCs. Moreover, they may also work as teachers, in a School or College, or even work as translators or interpreters at an Embassy.
A foreign language expert can teach at the British Council, the Cervantes Institute, the Alliance Francaise, the Italian Cultural Centre, the Japan Foundation, the Korean Cultural Center and so on.
Here is an important distinction between a translator and an interpreter. Interpreters need to interpret live speeches or spoken statements from one language to another but a translator has to translate written documents, which requires a strong command over different languages.
What is necessary to become a foreign language expert?
Firstly, formal education is necessary and you may have to complete certifications in your chosen language. For example, European languages have levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 with C2 being the most advanced.
Japanese has levels N5, N4, N3, N2 and N1 with N5 being the basic level and N1 being the advanced level. You may be required to show your mark sheet where it would be printed that you have completed a particular level.
Of course, you need a lot of patience to succeed in learning a new language. It is intellectually challenging and rewarding and one must put in focused efforts to attain a good level of expertise in the new language.
What is the best way to learn a new language?
Though many online sites can help you learn a new language, a classroom setup is always advantageous though your pace is influenced by the pace and ability of the slowest learner in class.
However, learning as a group is always better and you would even have pals you can converse with to develop your skills. There are quite a few sites such as https://www.mylanguageexchange.com/Pen-pals/Language/Spanish.asp. This one is for Spanish.
I think that language is something that needs to be processed and not memorized. Using flashcards 1000 times does not stick the same way as being forced to use a word in conversation once or twice.
It is proven that our minds place more priority on memories that involve actual human and social experiences. So, for example, I look up the word for say, a ‘dog’ and use it in a sentence with a new friend, chances are I’m always going to associate that word with that specific interaction and conversation.
Without this kind of practice, it means nothing to me, so I am less likely to remember it.
What are some tips to learn a new language?
In my opinion, there can be no hacks or short cuts to master a new language.
1. Practice hard
Speaking in the new tongue can improve your understanding of several folds. Nobody likes awkward conversations but it is the most effective way to learn a new language. Generally, the person you speak to would be more than willing to help you.
To be an expert in Foreign Language, it requires a lot of repetition and consistent commitment and investment. It’s better to allow a particular period of your life, even if it’s only 1-2 weeks, and go at it 100%, than to space your preparation out by stretching it for two months.
2. Always carry a pocket dictionary
These days, there are mobile apps for everything and hence, carrying your mobile would more than suffice, assuming you have the app installed.
3. Learn the basic words in the new tongue first
This way, you can connect to any person in the new language easily since you would already know greetings and certain conversation starters.
Studies have proved that the most common 100 words in any language account for 50% of all spoken communication. The most common 1,000 words account for 80% of all spoken communication. The most common 3,000 words account for 99% of communication.
In other words, there are some serious diminishing returns from learning more vocabulary.
TV shows, movies, newspapers, and magazines are extremely useful and probably the most fun way to ace the new language. But one should not mistake them for replacements of learning the language.
When I was learning Japanese, I spent a lot of time not only on Anime but also on Japanese Drama. I watched almost every drama of Kimura Takuya and became genuinely fascinated by Japanese drama.
Tips to handle the ups and downs that you may struggle at some point
First, you’re able to speak a little but understand nothing. Gradually you start to understand more than you speak. After you slowly become conversational, you’re able to speak and understand without conscious mental.
Once you’re able to speak and listen without giving it a second thought, you’ll begin to think in the foreign language effortlessly. Once you experience this, you should commend yourself for developing your skills.
Finally, believe it or not, following a conversation between large groups of native speakers is the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place. Traveling to that country helps and there can be nothing more useful than that.
However, we can intuitively understand that the investment would be quite high. Consequently, not everybody may be up for it.
Another important tip is to listen and watch people talk. The more you expose yourself to the unique sounds of the new language, the more familiar it becomes. Different languages make different demands on your tongue, lips, and throat. Pronunciation is just as much physical as it is mental.
Finally, you must have fun learning. This keeps you in high spirits and is probably the best motivator one needs. You need a driver so that you keep coming back to learn more. If you are a music person, then you may listen to songs in a foreign language. Who knows, maybe you will like them better!
Having the curiosity of a child helps and one must not be ashamed to make mistakes. As children, we failed many times before we picked up English or even our native language!
All things are difficult before they are easy! It is not worth missing out on amazing things just because they appear difficult!
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