The Best Way to Learn a New Language
Although studies have shown that our ability to learn a new language decreases throughout our lives, that doesn’t mean it can’t be accomplished. In fact, there are even a few biblical reasons why we should try to learn a new language. If you’re ready to say hola, bonjour, or ciao to a new challenge, review the answers to these practical questions on the best way to learn a second language.
When should I start?
The quick answer is the earlier you can start, the better. Because approximately 50% of our ability to learn is developed by the age of 4 and another 30% by age 8, many encourage parents to start teaching kids a new language by the age of 3 or 4.
"One of the greatest feats of human development is learning language," said Barbara Lust, a linguistics expert at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “It's remarkable how well-equipped children are, beginning at birth, to accomplish the complex task of learning language."
How long will it take?
Odds are good that you know people who have taken multiple years of language classes in school, yet they remember very little. That’s because those classes are separated by hours and days, of reverting back to their natural language in every other walk of life. The answer here is about how much time you can truly devote to immersing yourself in a language in a given time.
Where should I start?
It certainly helps to know 100 common words, but you also need to know how to use them in a sentence. Movies, music, games, and blogs can also be great learning tools. Beyond that, however, the best way is to find a friend and engage in conversation after conversation, where you need to be willing to say the wrong thing and learn from your mistakes. That relationship should also keep learning fresh and fun.