How to Start Learning a New Language From Zero? Step No. 2

* for step No.1 please read my previous article about THE GOLDEN MOTIVATION

As Aristotle was saying is not enough to wish for something you also have to do it. I had my Motivation List done when I realised that I am just at the beginning, I took a minute and counted all the words I knew in Italian – Ciao, Buongiorno, Uno, Due, Caffè, Mafia. I had 6 words and the Grande Dizionario Italiano dell’ Uso was telling me that there are 270.000 words in Italian. Of course, six is better than nothing, and I looked again at my Golden List.

FROM WHERE SHOULD I START EATING THIS PIZZA?

And my warrior spirit spoke: No matter how big and far is your goal, you just take a paper and make a plan, choose a strategy, break it in small actions, and start acting – soon you will be there.

I continued the syllogism, language is a tool, we use it to transmit ideas and thoughts, material or abstract notions and all words are preset codes that we all learn in order to be able to communicate with others that know the same code (language). Now things were getting simpler, first I needed to learn words.

No teacher in this world could learn words for me this was exclusively my job. Luckily I live in the XXI century, technologies are here to help me to do almost everything. And I must say I was surprised how many wonderful free tools there are on the internet that can help you simply to learn vocabulary.  I started to learn words on http://www.duolingo.com, and for the next 3 months, I practised daily around 30 min. For me it was a great solution as I did not really felt learning, it was more like a game, free and always accessible on my phone and computer. After 3 months, the app counted that I knew 1500 words. I was able to make simple sentences of course with some errors, but I was making sentences!

Although I thought it is a good result, and my friends from Italy observed that for only 3 months of studying, I knew a lot. A problem occurred, I was talking like a robot, naturally, I thought, I learned from a robot. As I had a pretty unsteady schedule, I was able to find an hour per day to study Italian but I was not able to find an Italian that would be always available for me early in the morning or late in the night.  I needed another solution, and I found something suitable, http://www.memrise.com, it was very useful as there I was able to listen how Italians truly pronouns words. I turn off the sound on Duolingo, and continue to practice on both apps.  This was great, I felt how I grow very fast but at some point, I felt this is not enough, and the internet saved me again. Lucky me, I found on Facebook a great page https://www.facebook.com/italianoautomatico/   Alberto and his Grandmother were my company every day during my lunch break, I was listening to them 2 or 3 times, and this routine exercise developed my comprehension level very much. Thank you, Nonna & Alberto.

As things are not always smooth, I faced a new problem, I think that those of you that are constantly training in the gym will understand me, at some point you need to add more weight or muscles don’t grow. This was the exact feeling I had about my Italian, a good shape, some visible results but after 5 months of daily practising, I wanted more than just a slight feeling of rising, I wanted to feel a significant improvement. I added in my daily language training the reading of an article, radio, conversations with natives. I had 6 months of continuous practice and 2500 known words in my vocabulary. I was able to express more complex thoughts, still with some errors, but they were complex!     I looked back and I was very proud of me, I felt I did a very good job, I worked hard and the result was evident. My Italian was like a hard acquired diamond, a real treasure. Everything was almost perfect but my diamond needed to be polished if I wanted to wear it proudly. It was time for a personal, professional approach. I started to look for a teacher. All free tools I was able to found on the internet were great, they helped me a lot but in the end without a good teacher that would help me through until the end was impossible to achieve fluency.  My journey continues and I promise to come back with more details about the step No. 3, meaning – how to Masteries a Language.

Why Start Learning a New Language?  The Golden Motivation.

For me, learning a language could be compared with the conquering of a city. I decided to learn Italian and this was like deciding to conquer Rome. A huge, amazing, wonderful, and hard to conquer Latin kingdom. Taking control on such immensity needs time and preparation. I had a goal already but I also needed to set the most important base for my further advance -MY MOTIVATION.

We all have a personal motivation when we start a route this keeps us going even when things are moving hard and we get tired. Learning a language, first of all, takes time and many of us are tempted to quit on their way. I realise that I’m just a human and I work just as everyone else and I decided to prepare myself for this with more than just one motive. I thought that a list of all good reasons will be my greatest support in the toughest moments.

First, I wanted to know how my students feel when they learn a new language, this was a good reason but this only helped me to start my trip and I needed more to keep going. Secondly, I wanted to find out some more good methods that really could help someone to learn a new language. I was searching for a cause, something that would keep me focused and motivated all the time. It took me several days to make that list but each minute I spent on making it, fully proved its value.

I will share it in this article, all my 10 golden reasons and their effect on me. I think this list could work for anyone and any language, just add to it your very own personal reasons and you are ready for a successful learning campaign at the end of which you can proudly call yourself the king of your own new conquered language kingdom.

Learning a new language:

1.  Enhances our brain power – and this is not a myth, I felt it on my own and many of my students are saying the same thing. Our brain is a muscle while we learn we train it and obviously we become smarter.

2. Increases our Memory – another wonderful side effect, learning a new language is ameliorating our memory. I am still making notes about the things I need to do or what I need to buy or meetings I have but I observed I do not need them anymore, I simply remember everything without an extra effort.

3. Develops our decision-making ability – I must confess I was very bad at this, I was spending hours or even days thinking about something, should I do it or not, should I buy this product or not, lately I feel a huge improvement in this area and I’m not stopping here.

4. Develops our multi-task working ability – I love this one, this is a must skill in our days, so many things to do all the time and so little time for it. While we learn a new language our brain is developing its ability to organise and schematize and later applies this skill in all spheres of our life. And it truly works.

5. Grow our self-confidence – I think this is a logical effect, our confidence is growing while we learn new things and we accumulate so many things while we learn a new language.

6. Expands our career potential – I never thought about it from this perspective before I start learning Italian but now I have a huge advantage while teaching Italians. I think this is applicable in any field, speaking a new language could help you in making connections, meeting new people, moving in another country etc.

7. Develops our communication skill – to learn a language presume a lot of communication and practice always makes it better.

8. Enlarge us as life perspectives – I felt it right away, exchanging ideas all the time with people that were grown in another way helped me to see the whole world from a totally new perspective and this helped me to grow as well.

9. Changes our mindset – I must say that Italians are very positive, they always are smiling and they are making jokes and even the language has a certain musicality, all this, on the whole, made me more positive and of course, I smile more 🙂

10. Opens the door to a whole new culture – Seeing the language as a key is one of the best comparison ever, with this key now I am able to read Italian authors or travel in there without a guide, learn from locals in a lost village how to cook an authentic pizza, the possibilities are enormous, probably I even don’t realise at this moment how this will truly change my life in the future but is certain, I opened the door to a new culture which enriched me and continues to do it.

I am not at the end of my way with Italian but I must say that I enjoy so much the route that I even forget about the final goal. Learning a new language is also fun, a reason that was not on my initial list, it is something I discovered in time and it values even more than the rest.

What about you, could you think of a reason that is not listed here? Then please share it with everybody in a comment on this blog and help others in their learning trip.

Thank you!

 

Hello to all my dear readers!

This article has a double purpose, first one is greeting you all on my blog and the second one is to tell you about my reasons, why did I start it. 

So, thank you all for your interest and patience, I am aware that I am not a great writer 🙂

I am a certified English Teacher and from time to time I take students that are interested in learning my mother languages but this blog is not going to be about teaching. I intend it for learning, of course, some of you will say that teaching and learning are so tightly connected, how can we trace a clear line between them, we cannot. But I will write from the learne’s point of view.  How come? I will explain it.

I started to learn Italian 6 months ago, I had many reasons to do this, but the main one and the most relevant in this case was my wish of understanding my students. How do they feel when they try to learn a new language? Which are their problems? How often do they feel bored or tired? Which methods are the most effective in learning a language? I had hundreds of questions and starting this journey in learning Italian helped me to answer to some of them. I will dedicate articles to each question in part and I hope that some people will find them useful in their learning journeys. I think this would make me feel useful to the whole community I live in. Yes. These are my reasons. I hope that I will find support and understanding from all of you. Thank You, to all, for everything.