In addition to boosting brain function and helping prevent Alzheimer’s, speaking another language can provide access to an exotic foreign land, expand your business, or serve as a go-to party trick. If you want to learn a language, the abundance of language learning apps, programs, and classes can make choosing a method overwhelming. CORE Languages aims to take people who say “I want to speak another language” and enable them to say “I use my other language every chance I get,” as soon as possible! Therefore, CORE Languages has compiled this work plan to ensure you make the most of your resources, stick with your goals and unleash your inner polyglot (noun – a person who speaks several languages).
❝You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.❞
❝If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.❞
❝Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.❞
‒Rita Mae Brown
The first step is to identify your language goals. Decide with whom you want to write or talk, where these interactions will occur and what topics you must cover in your new tongue. For your purposes, do you need conversational Spanish to build rapport with patients? To read German to keep up with one of the most competitive economies in Europe? To become as fluent as possible before getting stationed in Korea? We hope you set high goals and never lower them, but don’t get discouraged if upon starting you find the work more complex than you imagined. Revising a goal after the starting phase can mean you’ve already identified characteristics of the language and noticed differences from your native tongue!
Once you establish goals, examine the personal resources you’ll need: time, money and energy. While there may be a correlation between money spent and language gains, don’t forget that effort and will power are strong players in the acquisition equation. If hiring a private tutor isn’t an option, you can still make steady progress in a class or on your own. People teach themselves languages every day.
A thorough combination of reading, writing , listening and speaking is your target.
Next, decide on your methods. In this realm, our motto is: the more the merrier! To reach fluency, a thorough combination of reading, writing, listening and speaking is your target. For less lofty aims, tailor your selections according to necessity. Before excluding any component, know they are synergistic; speaking improves listening and vice versa. The classic methods include hiring a tutor or enrolling in a class; we think them classics for good reason. Whether or not these options are viable, incorporate as many other tools as you can, including language learning apps, programs and books. Ask for Rosetta Stone Spanish for Christmas and promise the folks you’ll impress them with conversational Spanish by spring. Or go with Pimsleur Japanese! Always produce language by practicing, rather than only receiving it through reading and listening. Use the impressive yet free Duolingo French to practice reading if opportunities don’t abound in conversation class. Finally, include in your game plan ways to test yourself. Apart from exams given in class or by a tutor, test your abilities on your own. After you complete assignments or study, quizzing yourself shows your progress with producing the information. Whether you’re enrolled or going it alone, online tests are a sure bet for many languages. On the creative side, choose a song and listen to it, then listen again in a few weeks to see if you can recognize more words. Or see if the online conversation partner you practice with on Skype scrunches his nose in confusion at you less often from one week to the next! After detailing a method, it’s time to set a schedule and decide how you’ll hold yourself accountable. Project a reasonable amount of time you can dedicate and create an ambitious yet attainable learning schedule. A simple, chore-style chart with check marks is a great visual reminder to add to your desk, planner or mirror. Set reminders in your phone or computer. Be sure to announce your goals and schedule, so your family, friends and coworkers can pitch in with reminders and celebrate your progress!
Most importantly, do the work. Like learning to play the violin, attempting a new tongue can be a screechy struggle at first. But there are certain milestones in the process after which conjugations and vocabulary will pop into your mind sooner. Incorporating your target language into many moments of your day can relieve you of some of the conscious work. Consider music and other entertainment in the target language, with subtitles as needed.
Although you might search for a get-fluent-quick scheme if suddenly stationed in Korea or another country without a Latin alphabet, we think hard work is the key. So set a goal at the “Insane” level on Duolingo French and maintain a “30 day streak.” Dedication, effort and surrounding yourself with a language in every possible way are the surest routes to conversational Spanish, or the language and proficiency level you desire. CORE Languages hopes this work plan is helpful and wishes you the best in all your language endeavors!