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。
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*
Featured image from Unsplash: Free High Resolution Photos