In the last blog, you learned about the first four principles of becoming fluent in a language. Even though a number of them were relatively obvious, it probably took you a bit of time to figure out how they worked into your existing schedule and methods. If you are just starting to learn your second language, you probably took some time to figure out how to implement them right from the begging.
Now that you have a grasp on how to incorporate the principles into your schedule, it’s time to focus on some of the less obvious principles. Some of them will be a bit more challenging to consider because they are more about your mindset than your ability.
These five principles primarily focus on how you think about learning your next language. From attitude to flexibility, it’s the kind of stuff that applies (to a lesser degree) to any kind of studying. The difference is that they are absolutely essential to becoming fluent.
Unlike the last blog, you need to use these principles to maintain the right mindset for learning. If your mind is not engaged, you find it incredibly difficult to learn the language, let alone become fluent.
5 – Finding a Variety of Activities and Tools
When you first get started, you will be limited in what you can do. But there remains a variety of available activities that can help keep your mind engaged. The more diverse the activities you use in your studies, the more links and associations you form with what you have learned.
Variety goes beyond just activities though. Try to make sure you shake up your learning.
6 – Taking a Consistent Approach
The way you learn language is really specific to you. If you know your best learning method, you need to use that approach consistently. You will learn at a different pace than everyone else. That is ok. As long as you are consistent and work in a way that maximizes your learning receptors, the faster you will learn.
Over time, what works is going to change. That is also ok. You will need to modify your approach as you become more familiar with the language. Just make sure you continue to grow and adapt based on your current ability and skills.
7 – Keeping a Positive Attitude
Learning a language is challenging for everyone, no matter how many languages they already know. You have to keep a positive attitude to succeed because it affects every other principle.
You are bound to have bad learning days. It’s fine – it happens to everyone. Don’t let it get you down.
You are going to make mistakes. You will feel a bit stupid, that too is fine. Even a bit endearing. Learn from your mistakes and problems instead of letting them stop you.
8 – Staying Curious about the Language
The people who learn the fastest are the ones who are the most motivated, and they are almost always incredibly curious about the culture of the language they are learning. Curiosity will help you get through rough times and motivate you to keep going.
Do some research into a particular aspect of a country that speaks your new language. Find out things you would like to learn. It’s also a fantastic way to push your vocabulary in a new direction.
9 – Remaining Flexible
Learning a language is not like any other kind of learning you have done (since you learned English). You have to be flexible and figure out what works for you. It isn’t going to be what worked for your best friend, your teacher, or even a sibling.
Heck, if your second language is German and you want to learn Japanese, you had best be ready to study in a completely different way. The difference between English and German is pretty easy to overcome (because English is a low form of German). Learning Japanese is nothing like learning German for English speakers because virtually nothing is the same.
You have to be flexible in how you learn.
This is true even several months after you start learning a new language. The more you know, the less effective the old methods are going to be. You have to move from primarily studying with a book to actual conversation.
Flexibility is required throughout the entire process. This does not mean scrapping your core method of learning. It simply means you are going to have to evolve your methods according to where you are and what works for you.