15 ways to be a world-class language learner
- Ignore any self-doubts from your school-time. You already learnt your mother tongue, right?
- Feel your own interest in other people right now. Imagine their point of view.
- Listen to any foreign language, like it’s a new-found friend. Surprise yourself; you might just understand something.
- Stop judging yourself. Play!
- Speak just one word in another language today. Two words tomorrow. You get the idea…….
- Listen with all the love in your heart. It could be the start of something beauuuuuuutiful……
- Listen not just with your ears, but your intuition, your life experience, your eyes, your whole being. Sometimes it helps!
- Listen, copy, listen, copy, listen, copy. Repeat.
- Practice sounding like an idiot. A lot.
- Speak before thinking. A beer or two can help.
- Connect! Start with body language, if no words come.
- Try try try try and try yet again. Even the smallest success makes you want to jump for joy.
- Pat yourself on the back for every tiny success. However small.
- Expect huge amounts of misunderstanding constantly. Smile and enjoy! (You won’t die.)
- Seek out people speaking other languages, at times when they have more time to listen. The local laundromat, bus stops, trains, old people’s homes……..
- BONUS: Avoid grammar books and vocabulary lists for as long as you can. Babies don’t need them, and you don’t either.
“A foreign accent is a sign of bravery” – Amy Chua