On learning foreign language.

If there is a skill that never goes out of trend, it’s foreign language proficiency. 

However, that wasn’t my first thought when I bought a deal voucher for eight sessions of basic Japanese. In my mind, being a huge fan of ’90s anime is enough reason to learn, because watching anime without subtitles is totally badass, amirite? *wink*

Kidding aside, learning a foreign language is no piece of cake. I don’t know how Jose Rizal, who was able to master 22 languages in one lifetime, did it. But I do know that some tips, tricks and study hacks go a long way. So if you’re ever going to ask me what’s the fastest way to learn a new language, here are the best bits of advice I can give:

Given the chance, choose a classroom setting versus self-studying.

Okay, self-study advocates, please don’t kill me yet. I’m not saying that self-studying foreign language is impossible. And yes, I hear you screaming the fact that not all people have the luxury of time and/or money for a language course, and I definitely agree with you. It’s just that in my experience, self-studying requires a ton of self-discipline, which I unfortunately don’t have. (-_-) So if you’re the kind of person who gets easily distracted, by all means, take a scheduled class instead of going DIY.

Rewrite your notes. 

I currently keep two notebooks for my Japanese learning: one notebook for real-time note taking during class, and another better-looking notebook to rewrite my notes in a more organized way. I find this really helpful because it’s like doing a review of sorts. And also because I put small stickers all over the pages of my better-looking notebook. Kawaii desu!

Write in the language you’re trying to learn.

Since I don’t have anyone to practice with — the Girlfriend gets crazy annoyed when I suddenly blurt out Japanese phrases like moshi moshi when answering her calls, or sugoi ne! when I meant “wow!” — I had to come up with other ways to force myself to think in Japanese. Writing a short paragraph about my day, kind of like a diary entry, seemed like a good idea to train my brain to construct basic sentences. And so I did exactly that last night, and I’m pretty proud of the result:

今日私の彼女と一緒に SM AURA おいきました。
GENKI SUSHI でたべました,でも,すこし好きじゃない。
OOMA と TODD ENGLISH のすしは より良い です。
11:00 P.M. まで STARBUCKS の コーヒー お のみました。
12:00 に うち お 着きました。
今は日本語おべんきょうします。

Today, I went to SM AURA with my girlfriend.
We ate at Genki Sushi, but we kinda didn’t like it.
Ooma and Todd English sushis are better.
We had Starbucks coffee until 11:00 PM.
I arrived home at 12:00.
I’m studying Japanese right now.

These six sentences took me almost an hour, but it did show me the progress I’ve made after five sessions.

Learning a foreign language is tough. Any iOS or Android app that promises “quick and easy” method is trolling for a download. Can I just share that last Tuesday, while rewriting my notes, my head was literally throbbing in pain? I couldn’t process a single topic. In that moment of head-pounding confusion, I questioned my reasons for even trying to learn this wretched thing.

But I eventually finished rewriting my notes in between breaks, attended my fifth session last Saturday, and wrote my six-sentence milestone last Sunday. And that’s when I knew that this is all going to be worth it.

How much is the rate for multilinguals these days? *lol*


Photo credit:
Featured image from Unsplash: Free High Resolution Photos

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23 Comments

  1. “So if you’re the kind of person who gets easily distracted, by all means, take a scheduled class instead of going DIY.

    YES. This is why I enroll in classes every time I want to try something new. I just absolutely know that I won’t stick to it if I try it on my own huhuhu.

    1. EXACTLY, teh! I am also prone to taking way too many breaks until one day, I just get too lazy to continue. Medyo magastos nga lang pag, but thank you e-commerce for the existence of deal vouchers haha!

  2. I agree that joining a class is better. I tried Duolingo for Spanish before but it felt like playing a game instead of learning a skill. Good luck with your Japanese 🙂

    1. I also tried a few language apps, but all they do was tell me the Japanese word for this English word. Well, how am I going to use it in a sentence, ‘di ba?

      Did you enroll in a Spanish clash, then? 🙂

      1. Learning through apps really doesn’t work, unfortunately. 🙁

        No, I didn’t hahaha. I also don’t have time cause I work 10 hrs a day and I want my weekends as weekends. Kailan ko isisingit yun? 🙁

  3. I keep trying my best to learn a new language but I’m only failing. 😩 How I wish it were as easy as downloading a software unto your brain and ta-da! You’re instantly proficient in whatever language you choose. 😅

    1. Hahaha maybe we’ll have that technology in the future, so keep your fingers crossed! 😉
      Learning a new language is really no picnic, specially if you don’t have any specific purpose, i.e., it’s just for fun. I’m kinda worried that i would lose interest eventually, but until then, all i gotta do is keep trying. 🙂

  4. Gurl, I kennat with youuu! Hooooow!! Nagtry ako mag self-study ng French before and I ended up “studying” for a grand total of 10 minutes. Hahahahaha

    1. Hahaha anyare sa eleventh minute?? Ekis talaga mag self-study, friend. Better pay for a class if you really want foreign language added in your arsenal. Hirap kumbinsihin ang sarili na mag-aral kapag madaming mas maganda gawin sa bahay, halimbawa mag marathon ng Koreanovela. Hahaha!

      1. True. This is why people like myself could never have nice things. LOL. 🙁 And boo you for liking Koreanovela! I’m judging you so hard right now. Hahahaha

          1. If we do decide to go out some time, please don’t talk to me about Korean anything (except for Korean skincare/cosmetics which I’m 99.87% sure you won’t be talking about anyway). Hahahahaha

          2. I love that ‘burning passion’. Hahahaha. I don’t know. I guess I just dislike a lot of things that are “trending”?? Haha ewan ko ba

  5. Ha ha ha nagtry ako mag-aral ng German, naka isang klase lang ako at mahirap matuto pag wala kang kausap dahil di mo ma-apply yung natutunan mo…pero sobrang importante na may alam kang ibang language

    1. Yun nga eh… alam mo yung kahit wala naman akong plano tumira or even magtrabaho sa Japan, alam kong may pagdadalhan yung skill ko kahit dito sa Pilipinas if ma-master ko ‘tong foreign language na ‘to.

      Ohh taray, German! Bakit naman German? Korean na lang para ma-apply mo sa panonood ng Kdrama charot!

      1. Ha ha ha kasi nung nasa Dubai ako…lagi nila hinahanap sa resume ang European Language at mataas lagi offer pag multilingual…eh Spanish sana mas madali diba kaso mas in demand ang French and German….sa dalawa mas madali ang German hahaha saka pangarap ko magpunta sa Austria haha…

        1. Ohh that’s why. Feeling ko ang hirap ng pronunciation ng mga European languages kaya never pumasok sa isip kong mag-aral niyan hahaha. But goodluck if may balak ka ulit mag-aral! 🙂

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