Boomers are notorious for adopting new skills later in life. They are also well-known to be avid travelers. So when you put the two together, it seems like the perfect skill for boomers to undertake is learning a new language.
There are few things as rewarding and fulfilling as learning to speak and understand a foreign language. It’s like a whole other world is opened up to you and in many ways, it has. Of course, if learning a new language was easy then everyone would be speaking every language. It’s a very difficult and time-consuming skill to develop, no matter what language you’re studying. And while there is no short-cut or secret paths to take to make the process easier, here are a few tips for how to best take on the task.
Have a (realistic) goal.
As with any time-consuming and difficult task, setting a goal for yourself to reach helps push you alone in your progress. And just like all those other goals, being reasonable about it is always important. After you find your purpose, coming up with a goal will probably be much easier, however, it’s important that you’re not just setting you’re not saying, “Geez, wouldn’t it be nice to accomplish this?” Setting a goal that you can’t possibly reach can be damaging to our motivation. Try for an attainable goal, or better yet, make weekly goal. That way you’re not only motivating yourself regularly but you’re also tracking your progress.
Evolve your learning.
Starting from scratch with learning a new language means that you must start with the fundamentals. Learning simple words like colours, food and animal names is probably a good starting point, but as you go on your learning techniques will have to evolve. Memorizing words isn’t going to teach you how to speak a language. You have to move on to verb conjugation, sentence formation and other techniques that will help you become conversational in the language.
While traditional ways of learning language can be very beneficial, use of media has also proven to be very helpful with thee development. Television is a great way to hear the language being spoken in a natural setting. Music can help you with identifying common words and phrases. There are apps that help you practice. Don’t be afraid to embrace such methods.
Have fun with it.
Just because you need to do a fair share of studying and homework in order to master a new language doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun. There are plenty of language games out there that can be a great time while still teaching you the language. Alternatively, make up some games of your own. This isn’t school, you’re doing it on your own so why not enjoy it?
Find a conversation partner.
Once you’ve developed to a certain point in your skill level, you’ll need to practice actually speaking the language. While practicing by yourself is a good idea, you should also try to work in some interactions as well. Conversation partners are a great way to practice the language in the manner you’re most likely to be using it in. If you’re part of a language learning class, ask a classmate if they’d like to go for coffee and practice. Find a native speaker willing to help you. This is how you move from studying the language to using the language.
Of course, practice makes perfect. With a skill like this, unless you’re reaching a level where you can basically speak the language, any time off in your learning will set you back significantly. Learning a language means you have to be building on what you’ve already learned and moving forwarded. Practice helps keep those skills strong as you continue to learn.
Remember that it’s not too late.
This will be a hard task to undertake and there will be times that you try to convince yourself that you can’t do it. One thought that might come creeping into your mind is that you are too old to be learning such a difficult new skill. Push that nonsense out of your head. There’s no truth to it and anyone willing to put in the time and effort can learn a new language no matter their age.
Having something to look forward to at the end of it all is always a great motivator. One great idea for a potential reward is to take a trip somewhere where you can practice the language for real. Fun and educational!