Learning a language

Published On: January 11, 2019 11:49 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

Learning a new language is no small feat. You will probably have to practice for months before you can even string together words to make a proper sentence. But let that not frustrate you and deter you from learning a new dialect.

The Week spoke to some language instructors who shared some tips on how you can master any language. 

“Watching movies is the best way to learn French.”

Rameshwor Rijal
French instructor at Delta M Consultancy

Although everyone has his/her own style and strengths when it comes to grasping new concepts and vernaculars, I would suggest French learners to focus more on the audio aspect of French than how it’s written. If you can read and write English well, you most probably will not face problems when it comes to French writing and reading. But it might take you some time to learn how to pronounce the words correctly – especially when it comes to cognates. Movies will help you a great deal with that. Try not to depend on subtitles while watching them and instead try to make sense of the sounds in relation to what’s happening visually on screen. This is a bit troublesome but it is – in my opinion – the most effective and fun way to learn French. There are also a great number of French audiobooks that you can listen to even when you are doing other things during the day like commuting or cleaning your room.

“Learn more about the culture and lifestyle.” 

Shiva Rawal
Chinese instructor at Bridge Consultancy

The one thing I always tell my students who have just started studying Chinese is to listen to Chinese radio broadcasts. The type of sounds that make up the Chinese language is very different to Nepali. So, listening to radio broadcasts for at least an hour everyday will familiarize you with it. It will also be beneficial if you learn more about the cultural aspect too. This way you will learn new words, how to use them, and the way some common words (that are used universally) are used in slightly different context in China and, trust me, there are a lot of these words. The characters in Chinese language are also very specific so you should regularly revise those. I also see a lot of people finding this language very complex because of its strict grammar rules. I actually think that if you learn to recognize the patterns in which the words, phrases and sentences come up in the language then you’ll be able to grasp it quite easily.

“Pay attention to the grammar rules from the start.”
Bijaya Lama 
German instructor and director at Saraswati Education Hub

I won’t sugarcoat the fact that German is a very complicated language to learn. But once you get through the basics, you’ll pick it up quickly. If you are thinking of learning this language, I urge you to pay close attention to the grammar rules because if you aren’t clear on that, you will have trouble understanding the language later on. Germany also has entertaining board games that you won’t find anywhere else and playing those will be a fun exercise for you to put your German skills to test. Some of my favorite games are Die Legenden von Andor, KLUGSCHEISSER, and Camel up. These might not be available in Nepal but you can order them online. You can also pick up German words and phrases by listening to German music, watching vlogs by German YouTubers, or listening to German podcasts if that is more of your thing.
“Focus on the vocabulary.”

Juna Subedi 
Korean instructor at Vero International Consultancy

Korean is a fairly easy language to learn, especially for us Nepalis. If you look into the structure of this language and the grammar rules, you will find that it closely resembles our own language. It’s also very logical and if you are properly focused, you will learn to read and pronounce the Korean characters within a week. Try to learn as many new words in Korean as you can and improve your vocabulary. You should also be mindful of the conjugates. Korean language softens words and names of things they borrow from other languages so know those rules too. There are tons of free online resources to teach yourself Korean – the best one in my opinion is Sweet and Tasty TV’s website and YouTube channel. Also, please don’t learn Korean from celebrities’ social media accounts. They mostly use the “hip” internet language and trying to understand that will only worsen your Korean.

Easy tips to learn any language 
Learn the 100 most commonly used words and how to use them in that language first.
Carry a pocket dictionary of the language you are learning and flip through it any chance you get throughout the day.

Instead of understanding and thinking of what the word means in your native language or English, try to understand the word in that very language. Don’t analyze in your mother tongue, it will only confuse you. (This tip will not be useful during the first few days but will help you a lot when you understand the basics of that language.)

Practice the language out loud. This improves everything from your flow and pronunciation to your capacity to string together words to make sentences and phrases.

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