On Learning a Foreign Language

I have always wanted to be able to speak fluently in another tongue. To converse with another in an unknown language has always been my desire.

At the moment, I am currently learning Spanish but my desire is to add German, Italian, French and maybe Japanese to that list. They say that once you have learned one language, that learning others would be easier to conquer.

So why do I want to learn? In my everyday life, I have encountered people that have conversed in their languages and maybe picked up a few words here and there but the beauty of speaking another language fluently, has always intrigued me. I am always impressed by people that can speak a repertoire of languages effortlessly and this a challenge for me all the same.

People have different ways of learning a language with immersion being the top method. But for those that cannot afford the luxuries of spending a year abroad in another country, the best methods of learning are most likely those that engage the patterns of memorising and the language becoming second nature . Rosetta Stone have attempted this but I have found it rather inundated with useless sentences and constructions such as ‘the boy is under the table.’ Who the hell cares? And why do i need to know how to say it in Spanish? I ultimately gave up with Rosetta Stone when it was clear that after several hours of learning, I still could not even construct a worthy sentence that meant anything to anybody. Nevertheless, it is still a great tool to use when trying to grasp vocabulary. But the process of elimination is rather unrealistic and contrived. In the real world, it is unlikely that you would have four choices of words accompanied by pictures to choose from.

I started using various different methods to learn. I have always found it difficult to remember things and thought that working on memorisation techniques was the best way to start. It is important to acquire the words before even moving into sentences. Just like a child, we learn how to say words before moving onto sentences, paragraphs and then finally essays.
A great application tool is Memrise which can help with learning a language. They use an interval technique. You plant new memories and then you water them later to refresh your memories. It has really helped with my Spanish.

In conclusion, learning a language is never going to be easy. Every learner is different but the experience itself is rewarding albeit frustrating at times.

3 thoughts on “On Learning a Foreign Language

  1. I wasn’t too thrilled with Rosetta Stone either. I really like Duolingo, it’s free and has lessons for Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Portuguese. They are planning to add more languages, hopefully Japanese!

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