Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 01:32:31 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

How to choose a language to study

photo by

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Elizabeth Koprowski :
You probably don't remember learning to speak your first language. Children learn their native language over the course of months and years, through exposure, practice, trial and error, and formal instruction, and while speaking your mother tongue may seem easy, or even automatic now, there was a time when the words you use every day were as foreign as Russian (unless, of course, Russian is your first language, in which case as foreign as...Mandarin). Learning a language is never easy, and if you've tried to learn a language in the past and failed, you might think that language-learning is beyond your capabilities. If so, think again. Learning a language is difficult, but there are numerous benefits to both learning and speaking additional languages, and all it takes is choosing a language that carries the right motivation. Here's how to identify which language will give you the greatest chance of success.
1. 'Liking' a language isn't enough
A lot of language-learners make the mistake of picking a language because they 'like' the language or culture associated with it. Learning a language is a lot like learning a musical instrument - Mendelssohn sounds beautiful and simple when played on a Stradivarius by a master, but no one enjoys practicing scales or listening to a beginner scratch and squeak their way through 'Twinkle Twinkle' on a half-sized violin. So if you're aiming to learn Italian because you think it sounds beautiful or Japanese because you want to write intricate characters, you might find it difficult to motivate yourself through the basics. Learning to say hello and count to ten is the easy part - true fluency takes dedication, practice, and a whole lot of mistakes along the way and the only way to make it through is with the right motivation.
2. Consider the cost
There are plenty of polyglots out there who claim to have simple and quick ways of learning new languages. But while there are some shortcuts, the US Foreign Service Institute, which trains diplomats, estimates that basic fluency in languages similar to English takes between 575-600 hours of study (languages with more difference can take up to 2200 hours). And if you're planning to attend classes or purchase learning materials those hours can add up to a hefty sum of money to learn a language. If you're on a tight budget, consider popular languages like Japanese or German which have a lot of free, online learning tools. Or start with something like Duolingo, a free online language-learning app that offers twenty different languages, to get a feel for a language before investing in language school. And remember that one of the best ways to learn a language is through emersion, which means your budget should include provisions for an eventual field trip.
3. Check job prospects
Many students consider learning a second language because bilingualism will make them more attractive as a potential employee. And common sense would suggest that choosing a widely-spoken language like Spanish or French would be a good choice. But if you're looking to distinguish yourself amongst a host of highly-qualified candidates it's important to do a bit of research first. Chinese has more than a billion speakers, but that doesn't mean that every industry is looking for Chinese speakers. And if your sector does a lot of work in China, it's a safe bet that everyone else applying for jobs in your field will also be adding Chinese to their resume. Instead, dig deeper and find a language that is both applicable and rare. Computer tech students might consider German or Finnish, for example, while Korean and Turkish both rank highly for useful business languages.
4. Identify your goals
Remember that motivation we talked about? Keeping your goals in mind can be one of the best motivators for learning a language. And it's important to identify your goals early in the learning process. If you're aiming for a career in historical research, it may not be very important to speak a foreign language, but fluent reading skills in Latin or Greek may be essential. If your life goals include living or working abroad, speaking and socializing with ease should be your focus. Pinpoint how you plan to incorporate your new language into your life and plans and then concentrate your efforts on the elements that will help you achieve those goals.
5. Focus on culture
Earlier we said that liking a culture shouldn't be the main reason for learning a language, but a language that has a lot of popular culture can be a gold-mine for learners. The best way to learn a language is to surround yourself in it because it turns your life into a classroom, but not everyone can pack their bags and move abroad for a year. In the meantime, learning a language can be a lot easier if you can read, watch, hear, and eat your way through the lessons. Learning Portuguese? Fill your iPod with Brazilian music. Teaching yourself Chinese? Try ordering from the 'secret' menu at your local restaurant. Want to learn a Swedish? Fill your Netflix queue with Scandi-crime dramas and turn on the English subtitles. Find fun, every-day ways to work your language lessons into your life and you'll find the process a lot easier and enjoyable.
(Elizabeth Koprowski is an American writer and travel historian. She has worked in the higher education system with international students both in Europe and in the USA).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Entertainment »

Jennifer crosses 7 million followers on Instagram

Jennifer Winget has more than one reason to celebrate. The actress is not only enjoying her stint as Zoya in the show, Bepannah, but she has also become the second Indian TV celeb who now enjoys a fan following of 7 million on Instagram.Jennifer is next to Divyanka Tripathi, who ...

Cricket »

Fazle should get another game: Mashrafe

Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said Fazle Mahmud should be given another opportunity despite scoring a duck in the first game.Ahead of the second match in Chattogram, Fazle Mahmud, who debuted in the first ODI, is still getting Mashrafe's support despite scoring a duck in the first game, according to ...

Editorial »

Higher educational institutions must be kept out of corruption

THE Dean's Committee of Dhaka University (DU) yesterday at a meeting held at the Vice-Chancellor's office decided to hold the controversial "Gha" unit entrance exam again, Vice-Chancellor Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman said, according to media reports. The VC said 18,463 students, who have passed the test could take part in the ...

City »

BNP Vice-Chairman Khondkar Mahbub Hossain speaking at a human chain formed by Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday demanding release of BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia and withdrawal of false cases filed against BNP Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman.

International »

Trump to cut Central America aid as migrant caravan rolls on

AFP, Mexico :President Donald Trump said Monday the United States will start cutting aid to three Central American countries as a caravan of thousands of mostly Honduran migrants rolled on toward the US border.The United Nations said more than 7,000 people were now heading toward the United States, as more ...

International »

Torture in Palestinian jails 'systematic': HRW

AFP, Ramallah  :The Palestinian security forces "systematically" abuse and torture prisoners in what could amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.The rival authorities of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas both used threats, arbitrary arrests and violent abuse against detainees, said the New York-based group.The report is likely ...

Editorial »

The authoritarian ruler must go

THE Maldives' top court on Sunday ended weeks of uncertainty by rejecting strongman President Abdulla Yameen's controversial bid to annul last month's election results, upholding his landslide defeat to the opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The five-judge Supreme Court bench unanimously ruled that Yameen had failed to prove his claim ...

Cricket »

Asia Cup knock still Imrul's best

After registering his highest ODI score in the series opener against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh batsman Imrul Kayes has still rated it as his 'second-best' innings.Imrul smashed 140-ball 144 runs including 13 fours and 6 maximums against Zimbabwe which helped Tigers win by 28 runs in the first ODI at Mirpur.Even after ...

Football »

Messi injury means Coutinho, Dembele must step up for Barca

AP, Barcelona :With Lionel Messi out with a broken arm, the two most expensive signings in Barcelona's history have a perfect opportunity to step up and show their value.Barcelona spent more than 300 million euros to sign Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho and France forward Ousmane Dembele last season as it ...

International »

Turkey turns up heat on Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi

AFP  :Turkey's pro-government media published new claims on Monday linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to reveal the "naked truth" about the case.Erdogan said at the weekend he would give new details in a speech on ...

International »

Nnamdi Kanu: Nigerian separatist leader resurfaces in Israel

Missing Nigerian separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu has resurfaced in Israel more than a year after soldiers stormed his home. "I'm in Israel," Mr Kanu said on Sunday in a broadcast on his outlawed pirate radio station - Radio Biafra. A video of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (Ipob) leader praying ...

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina administering oath to the newly elected Mayor of Barishal City Corporation Serniabat Sadik Abdullah at her office in the city on Monday.

Entertainment »

Emon, Airin pair up in movie for first time

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Popular film actor Emon and model cum actress Airin Sultana have paired up for the first time in a movie titled Akash Mohol. Noted filmmaker Delwar Jahan Jhontu is making the movie under the banner of Impress Telefilm. The shooting of the movie began at the Bangladesh ...

Cricket »

Imrul Kayes scores career best 144

Bangladeshi opening batsman Imrul Kayes proved his worth scoring his 3rd ODI century with career best 144 runs in a tough situation against Zimbabwe in the first match of the three-match ODI series at the home of Bangladesh Cricket-Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday.When Bangladesh were losing wickets on ...

Football »

Emery's Arsenal face gruelling week

Unai Emery admits Arsenal will struggle to cope with a draining schedule that sees them host Leicester at the start of three games in seven days.Emery's side will be pushed to the limit by the television schedulers, who moved their Premier League clash with the Foxes to Monday evening at ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news