Did you know that speaking a second language is particularly beneficial not only for your career but also for your brain? No surprise more and more people want to know how to learn a foreign language.

According to new scientific research, which comes to confirm previous studies, learning foreign languages ​​is a beneficial form of brain training, which enhances concentration, attention, memory, and other cognitive functions.

Researchers from the Northwestern University of Illinois, who published a paper in the journal of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), concluded that bilingualism affects the brain and fundamentally alters the way the nervous system reacts to sounds, as shown by the laboratory experiments.

As the scientists found, when it was quiet in the lab, two groups of people, those who spoke only their native language and those who also spoke a second one, had similar brain responses to sounds.

But when the lab was deliberately flooded by sound stimuli and noises, then the participants in the second language group managed to identify the sounds much better, to focus their attention on the voice of each speaker, and to cut off the other noises in the background. The difference in the performance between the two groups of volunteers was visible in their brain activity.

Those who know foreign languages and, therefore, seem to have a more efficient auditory perception, are more flexible and better able to automatically focus on sound stimuli and to efficiently process them.

How to learn a foreign language quickly? Here are a few effective tips.

Language environment

The easiest and fastest way to learn a foreign language is to immerse yourself in its natural environment. Using a foreign language in everyday situations in all spheres of life guarantees that within a year, you’ll be able to speak it, even if you won’t be fluent.

So use every opportunity to go abroad at least for a short period of time. Fortunately, today, there are many opportunities for students, such as the multiple programs of experience exchange between universities.

Group vs individual language lessons: which are better?

Today, the most common way of learning a foreign language is to follow language courses or take individual lessons with a tutor. Which method is more convenient and effective?

  • On the one hand, private lessons are better because a teacher’s time and attention are fully devoted to you without any distractions to other students. It allows the language teacher to quickly determine your level of knowledge and pick the best possible individual program for quick and effective language learning.
  • On the other hand, group lessons provide an opportunity for role-playing games and thus begin to communicate in a foreign language. It is important for breaking the language barrier.

First of all, you need to decide on how much time you will be able to dedicate to language learning. It’s a shame to drop your lessons in the middle when after a few months, your enthusiasm will run dry because you will get tired of rushing across the city three times a week after work…

Intensive learning

Before getting signed up for a language course, all students take a test to determine their level of language proficiency. If you want to know how to learn a foreign language quickly, a good idea would be to ask the teacher to sign you up for a higher level group, even your knowledge is clearly not enough.

The intensity of language learning plays a very important role in its effectiveness. You will have to quickly improve your level, and experts say that it’s much more effective to take an intensive language course than to follow lessons for a few years at a more relaxed pace.

Discipline

If you set a goal to learn a foreign language, you will have to put maximum effort to it. Try not to miss your classes or lessons with your tutor, do your homework on time, and do additional exercises and tasks.

Use every opportunity to learn

Even if you put enormous effort into learning a foreign language, never neglect an opportunity to improve your knowledge. Especially in the case of language learning, the more you practice, the better results you can achieve.

  • Read books in a foreign language, even if you will understand only a half of what you are reading at first.
  • Communicate with native speakers using social networks and special sites for language exchange where people from different countries share the knowledge of their native languages.
  • Read foreign news sites, watch TV shows and movies without translation or at least with subtitles. It will help you learn to perceive the language by ear.

How to learn a foreign language quickly with these practical tips

In order to learn a foreign language, you have to actively expand your vocabulary, which means that you need to memorize a large number of new words daily.

  • Write foreign words on stickers and put them on your monitor, refrigerator, or bathroom mirror – any spot you frequently see during the day would work.
  • Install a translation software on your mobile phone and use it every time when you stumble upon an unfamiliar foreign word.
  • Speak and think in a foreign language, describing your actions and what you see in the room or on the street.
  • Regularly glance over a frequency dictionary where the words are classified by the frequency of their use in the language. Experts claim that in order to understand a foreign speech and text, it’s enough to know the first thousand of the most used words.

And the last one. Before you start learning a foreign language, understand that it’s not a goal but a means that will help you make your dreams a reality.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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