Learning a New Language

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Learning a New Language

Becky Chen, Staff Writer

Learning a new language can be a challenge for some, and easy for others. But in the end, it’s always rewarding to expand your knowledge of the world and effectively communicate in more than one way! Here are some tips to help you learn new languages, all given by teachers in the language department of AHS:

 

1. Apply What You Learn in the Real World

Applying your knowledge of the language to the real world is essential to getting used to it and building confidence in your skills. Spanish teacher Ms. Martinez stated that one way of doing this is by “read[ing] the signs around your community and also read[ing] the labels in the products you use” of the language you are learning. Madame Krikorian, French teacher, agreed that if you want to study a language, you should be using it outside of the classroom as well: “Read, listen, [and] speak. In other words, use the language in and out [of] the classroom.” If given an opportunity to use the language outside of the classroom, you should use it. Spanish teacher Ms. Rodrigeuz stated, I’ve had students that use it on social media or during lunch, this is a great example!” Wherever you can, make sure you’re constantly applying the language for everyday use so one day, it will be used as one of your daily spoken languages!  

2. Watch TV or Listen to Music In the Language

To get better at a language, it definitely helps enjoying it as well. Students can get better at learning a language if they entertain themselves while doing so. Methods like watching TV or listening to podcasts or music in the target language are great ways of “practicing audio skills” as stated by Ms. Lopez. Ms. Martinez advised, “There are good educational shows that target toddlers where the vocabulary is simple and you will also learn culture from these.” Make sure you’re using your online resources, as Madame Krikorian advised that “you can also find many useful websites to learn your target language: podcasts or TV channels for example.”

3. Practice Regularly

Instead of cramming for the day before the test or trying to get everything done in one instance, focus on pacing yourself and practicing everyday. Ms. Lopez recommends 15 minutes everyday. Madame Krikorian tells her students that learning a language is like playing a musical instrument. “If you don’t practice it regularly, you won’t improve.” Practicing bits every single day is better than “two hours a week” she stated. You won’t be fluent in a week or even a month, because learning a language is a long process that comes with committed practice and training. 

4. Create Meaning With The Words

Instead of viewing vocabulary in your target language as points of memorization, form a deeper meaning with them in order to truly understand their use. Ms. Rodrigeuz stated that one way to do this is by “developing your own sentences using the word.” Ms. Martinez believes that you have to “live” the language in order to truly understand it. 

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Mistakes

All teachers agreed that you shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes, as you can learn from your mistakes and improve from them in the future. 

Above all, realize that what you’re doing is amazing and that learning new languages will be extremely helpful for your entire life. “Learning and knowing how to speak another language is a skill that is very beneficial,” Ms. Rodrigeuz concluded. “Memorizing for the sake of passing the class will not benefit you. Enjoy the experience and do not take it for granted.”

 

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