The world has become smaller, but bilingual or multilingual people are still in the minority. Funny, considering how learning a new language is a goal that everyone has had at some point in their life, as it should be.
Learning new languages builds confidence, strengthens decision-making capacities, and literally feeds your brain’s yearning for a cognitive challenge. Done well, it can even help advance careers since it opens up more opportunities.
And yet, not many people get past the stage of expressing a desire to learn. Why is that?
As per surveys conducted by language-learning apps, there are many reasons for people giving up on learning a new language. The most common one is not having enough time to do it, soon followed by the usual concerns when learning anything new, fear of failure and not having enough support or people to practice with common amongst them.
Since time is something we all have a little more of right now, investing it smartly means that even learning a new language is within reach. This lockdown has proven that distance doesn’t have to affect productivity or results. People are achieving incredible things across technology, finance, and various other sectors, despite having work routines and habits disrupted.
It’s now easier than ever to learn something new from home, especially if it’s linguistic in nature. There are a few channels you can approach, depending on your learning style:
- Language learning apps
There are multiple apps that help you pick up the basics before you can move on to more advanced learning. Duolingo and Babbel are especially popular but there are many others that even let you talk to and gain help from native speakers so you can get some practice in.
- Fall down the YouTube hole
There’s nothing you can’t find on YouTube; it’s enough of a game-changer that even Google’s search algorithm had to change to accommodate it. There are hundreds of channels on YouTube that help you start learning a language from the very beginning, like learning the alphabet, to conjugating verbs and holding a solid conversation.
- Pick up a book
Books still work when it comes to learning the building blocks of any language, like grammar and sentence structure, and they won’t go out of fashion any time soon. There are dozens of e-books that you can purchase or download for free to get started, depending on the language you want to learn.
- Get a tutor
Now, this isn’t something you have to do but if you learn best with another person teaching you then nothing like it. There’s plenty of people who offer tutoring services online, many of whom are native speakers. Even in lockdown, it’s not too much of a stretch to learn since we have Hangouts, Duo, Zoom and many other ways to do a conference call.
Here’s a thought we want to leave you with:
Though the idea of learning an international language can seem more glamorous, there’s just as much value in learning regional languages within the country. Languages are intrinsically tied to a people and their culture. It’s how people communicate and it is the starting point of all learning.
Many of us are living and working in cities that we are not from and learning the local language can go a long way in building community, especially during a time like this. No one is expecting native-level proficiency but earnest attempts at the basics can still go a long way toward making you feel a bit more at home wherever you are.
We are stronger together than we are apart and these little things may make all the difference in the coming months.