Unfortunately, due to the ubiquity of English in many parts of the world, there is often not much emphasis on learning a foreign language if English is already your native language. After all, learning a new language is never easy and it is something that takes an enormous amount of time, commitment and practice to reach fluency. Learning a new language will, however, be extremely rewarding, even if you choose a language which doesn’t offer a particularly practical benefit. It will help to open your eyes to the world around you and experience another culture in a way that you couldn’t otherwise. If you have decided that you want to learn a second language, yet you haven’t decided which one, consider the following tips.
Considering Future Opportunities
Learning a new language takes a lot of effort and, more often than not, a considerable financial investment as well, at least if you want to learn it properly. For these reasons, you’ll likely want to choose something useful to you, a language which presents a number of new opportunities. Learning any new language will look good on your résumé but, if your primary concern is new job opportunities in the future, then you’ll need to choose a language to learn more carefully.
Major world languages such as Spanish, French or German can be useful for just about anyone but, the most important language in the world is the one where you’ll be living and working. Take note of this if you plan to move abroad. Icelandic, for example, might not seem like a very worthwhile language to learn, but it is the most important language if you’re planning to move to Iceland.
There are some people who seem to have a natural talent when it comes to learning languages, particularly if they were brought up bilingual. Most of us, however, find it extremely hard to learn a new language as an adult. For most people, there is no such thing as an easy language to learn. After all, you have to remember an entirely new vocabulary and master a whole new range of grammatical rules and structures. With some languages, you’ll even need to learn an entirely new writing system.
The easier languages to learn are, unsurprisingly, those closest to your own. English speakers will have a much easier time learning German than Arabic, for example. Latin-based languages, Spanish in particular, is relatively easy to learn for native English speakers as well. Slavic languages tend to be harder, although they do at least belong to the Indo-European language group. The most challenging languages for English speakers tend to be ones like Arabic, Chinese or Japanese and any other languages which are not Indo-European. Harder still are language isolates such as Basque, Korean or Georgian which are not related at all to any other existing language.
Another major consideration is the available learning options. You will need to ask yourself how you’re going to go about learning the language. If all you plan to do is learn from things like books and audio courses, then you should have no problem finding the necessary materials from various online resources such as Amazon. If you plan to learn a language at college or in a language school near you, then there will be far fewer options available. By far the most effective way to learn a new language, however, is to study it abroad in the form of an intensive language course where you will also have the opportunity to practice the language every day.
To reach fluency in a new language, you’ll need to study it for some years and, for a time, become completely immersed by it. It is a major undertaking but one that’s very much worth it as well. For the most part, however, choosing which language to study is very much a matter of personal preference.
Autor: Charles Jackson
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