Working in Asia

How to learn a language faster

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In a competitive job market, where employers get hundreds of CV’s, multiple language skills attract more attention. It doesn´t matter if you dream of working for a big multinational or a small startup, speaking more than one language is an attention grabber. Language skills also show strong character. It means you are persistent and a good learner, which are also desirable traits in today´s workforce. Some research even shows that knowing a second language increases empathy, another virtue highly valued in the workplace. But as we know, language learning is hard. Mastering a new vocabulary demands a lot of time and effort. Luckily, generous polyglots have shared some great tips with us commoners.

 

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Take language classes with small groups

This is an obvious one and the first step to learning any language. But the emphasis here is on a small group size. No one wants to sit in a classroom full of 20 people, who have different cognitive capabilities. So find language classes that offer small group sizes.Your best bet is to take language classes while living in another country. That way language learning is even more interactive, as you can ask your teacher things you run into daily.

Speak or starve

Move to the country where the language is spoken. This one is a must if you really want to master a language. Because if you don´t speak the local language you will starve and get lost. It pushes you to remember every piece you have ever studied. When you repeat new words in a classroom, you will remember them for a short time. But when you repeat words in real-life situations they will stick in your memory for longer.

 

 

Eavesdrop

Yet another reason to move to the country where the language is spoken, is that you can hear other people´s conversations. So you´ll be able to grasp the pronunciations in no time. Your best bet would be to intern in a local company, so you can hear people speaking, while understanding the context. By the end of the internship you should at least be able to make small talk by the water cooler in your desired language.

Substitute scrolling with learning

Get rid of your Facebook and downloand language apps instead. That way you use the time you scroll and chat more productively. It is also a fun activity for daily commutes and waiting times. Your friends will begin to think what happened to you, but you´ll soon be able to chat with them in a new language. It feels good to show off.

Make a fool out of yourself

The key to mastering any language is practice. So just talk, talk, talk - loud and wrong. Looking like a fool on daily basis is an effective way to master a language. It can also feel quite liberating.

Get language buddies

Learning a language with other like-minded people makes it more fun. It gives you support and a will to carry on. Your spouse doesn´t really care that you finally understood a difficult grammatic rule, but your language buddies will totally cheer you on. They just get it.

Motivation is key

Why are you putting yourself through all this trouble to learn a new language? Reminding yourself these reasons will help keep you on track. Setting yourself tangible goals and working towards them everyday will make language learning more comprehensible. New word everyday, language test at the end of the year, first children´s book read in new language - all these work well as little targets to motivate you, to carry on and stay persistent.

Talk to yourself

Not in a public space preferrably. But pronouncing new sentences on your own will train your tongue and memory. This way you will have more confidence to start conversations or answer people promptly.

Make it enjoyable

Language studying doesn´t have to be limited to classrooms and textbooks. You can watch TV in another language, listen to foreign music, or join a sports class. Watching TV and films in a foreign language actually improves your conversational and listening skills. The same goes with music, as it trains you ear to track sentences in real time. Because people rarely speak in the pace of textbook audio files. A little tip for beginners is to pause, rewind, and write down what you hear.

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Study little and often

Shoveling new words and grammar into your brain all day everyday isn´t actually effective. You should chop language study into small frequent bits instead. A couple of hours each day will keep you on track, without exhausting your mind.

Carry a notepad

When you hear new words it is great if you can fix them on paper and later turn back to them. This way you can make connections between the situations and words you learned. Next time when you are in a similar situation, you´ll already know what to say.

Use new words right away

Repeating words many times will store them in your long-term memory. Some say three times a charm, some say it´s more like seven. But anyways learning new words and using them as often as possible will enhance your vocabulary in no time.

 

So, go ahead and give your language studies a new boost. Use these tips to accelerate your learning process. Start learning a language in a small class, find an internship in Asia, use language apps on your commute to the new internship, make a fool of yourself daily in a new environment, and find language buddies to do it all with. Make sure you keep yourself motivated and make the language study fun. Try to learn new words and use them as much as you can. Happy learning!

 

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