In high school, I was one of the many kids who chose to take Spanish as their language elective. In the United States, many people speak Spanish! What a great language to learn, or so I thought.
In college, after years of failed attempts at learning a new language, I promised myself that this time it would be different. I would try my hardest to do the homework correctly, download more resources, find a tutor, and master the Spanish language. But let's be real. The struggle is hard.
Some of us have been blessed in countries where we speak several languages from birth, but others of us are only exposed to various languages in high school. 14-15 years into our lives we are expected to learn something new. For some, they can pick it up real fast, but if you're like me ... You struggle, struggle more than most.
Currently, I am trying to learn the Khmer language. Not only do I meet with a tutor twice a week, but I also have additional resources. With that in mind, I wanted to give a few tips in case you want to join me in my language quest.
The first thing I am starting to realize is being immersed in the culture has additional benefits of having to constantly practice what you are learning. Living in Cambodia during my learning time, has been so helpful. You encounter many people who may only speak a little English, and so charades and my broken Khmer have come in handy.
One-on-one help has been so beneficial for me. Group classes like in high school and college are fine but it's also nice to be the only student. You know ... ALL EYES\EARS on you type of thing. I am able to ask more questions, feel less awkward, and practice more with my tutor. My tutor only has to worry about me. Am I being selfish? Probably, but it's helpful.
Notecards are great, but if you forget to use them then what good are they? What I have done is hang them on my wall. This way, I see them daily. I have to look at them. I recorded my tutor saying the words and then I play it and repeat.
Now, the next thing I am about to tell you may seem silly, BUT it is extremely helpful. Are you ready? Brace yourselves and try not to laugh. I have downloaded so many kid games that focus on the alphabet or words in Khmer. You do have to be careful with some ... My roommate found a mistake in it the other day, but overall these are great resources. If you think you are slightly above this, then that is your problem. You may think it's childish but technically you are starting off as a CHILD when you learn a language. You start from the very beginning, just as if you were in Kindergarten.
There are so many different ways you can begin to learn a language, but this is just a few from my journey the past three months. I am learning so much daily and I am excited for the new year. In 2019, I will be joining a school that focuses on language. Attending group and individual classes will be highlighted.
So pick a language, any language and let's learn. Do I hear a New Years' Resolution?!
Stay tuned for more language news, but for now it's just the beginning.