Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Monthly Challenge - Learning a New Language

Upon reading the title to this post it comes across as a bit misleading.  Of course I don't expect to learrn a new language in just a month, but akin to Morgan Spurlocks "30 Days" challenges I think taking a new approach to life every month is an important thing to do.

Learning a new language is something I always thought I missed out on as a kid.  I didn't really take to Italian classes as much as I should have (I took it all throughout junior high school and high school).  While I think Italian was an interesting choice (didn't want to do spanish with everybody else and didn't like French at all), it may have been a better choice to just go with the flow of spanish classes, since it's nearly a standard language amonst new york, california, etc.

But now that I'm approaching it as an adult, I almost want to go even further, trying to learn a new language and a new alphabet... Chinese might be the wave of the future (i.e. a billion people and a government buying up all of the US debt), but I always had an affinity for Japanese.  Maybe that will be my ticket to a new and enhanced mind set in the coming few years.  I've heard that learning anew language forces your brain to use more areas that wouldn't be used otherwise.

How would I even get started doing this?  Well, there is the Internet, for one.  They have all types of stuff over there.  I started to do a little research and found an interesting article which breaks down some of the common ways to learn and barriers to learning a new language.  I thought it was interesting so I wanted to summarize it here:

Overcoming Fears - This is a big one, as most people are all amped up to learn something until, of course, they face the first true challenge or difficulty, then they give up.  I have to overcome the fear of failure in order to even come close to succeeding (true in all manners of life).

"Use a combination of resources" - I thought this was interesting because it speaks to the fallibility of textbooks as well as the uncomprehensive nature of conversational learning.  Sure, we all learn our first language just by conversation, but we have to be taught spelling, grammar and reading from books and teachers.  Combining those factors is how we can truly dominate the learning process...

"Don't give up" - Probably the most important factor of all time, for anything, ever.  Just keep going, even when you are sick, tired, depressed and feel like failure is absolutely imminent, this is when you will finally succeed.  I have to learn to remember this one.

Resources:
http://learnjapanese.io
http://www.japantoday.com

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