Learning a language starts in childhood. It is usually acquired easily at this life stage since there are no existing interference brought about by having an established language or being accustomed to a native tongue. While children learn a primary language mainly to be able to communicate more effectively with people around them, adults will have different reasons for wanting to learn a foreign or second language. Whatever the reason, there is no denying that there are advantages in having proficiency in more than one language.
Reasons Why Adults Pursue Learning a Foreign or Second Language
Since adults are already expected to have acquired or mastered at least their native language, questions as to the logic of learning another one often arise. Why spend more time learning another language when one is able to communicate effectively already? If the world was an enclosed capsule where one’s country can survive on its own and have no need to interact with other nationalities whatsoever, then there is probably no need for another language. However, because of the reality that the world is currently on a global stance where every country interacts with another country one way or the other, mastery or even having a working knowledge of a foreign language makes such interaction easier.
Competition in the work environment is very much alive. Always, the road to faster career acceleration consists of having abilities that are either not possessed by others or are possessed by others in an lesser degree. It has been proven that mastery of a foreign language is a career asset. Higher level positions always require communication with equally highly positioned associates and these people will not always be locally based. Most will be natives of foreign countries especially with companies that do business internationally on a daily basis. It is worth knowing that although the English language remains to be the so-called universal language, worldwide speakers of Spanish and Chinese far exceed English speakers in number.
Aside from career considerations, adults can make use of a learned foreign language to make their traveling more enjoyable. Immersion in a foreign country’s culture is more enjoyable when one is able to communicate with the locals. Many say that the true story of any culture is largely revealed by its language. Knowledge makes it possible to enjoy international literature, music, and films.
The personal benefits of foreign language learning includes having sharpened cognitive skills and increased ability in one’s native language. Higher Education opportunities such as scholarships and study-abroad options are also widely available for individuals who have the required units for language study. There is also increased possibility of gaining more foreign lifelong friends since language will not present an effective barrier.
Learning a Foreign or Second Language
There are essentially two formalized ways of learning a foreign language. One is to enroll in a language school and the other is to make use of a language software. The best language schools are usually the ones that offer classes handled by native speakers of the desired language. Many advocate the language schools located in the same country where the language is being used. This is based on the premise that true language learning only happens in actual use and interaction with native speakers will ensure this.
There are at least three language software commonly used today. These are the Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, and Declan. The programs offered by these software seek to provide language learners with significant communication skills in the chosen language which will allow them to use the acquired learning for the intended purpose. The best method for foreign language learning depends on the end goal of the aspiring learner since it will determine the amount of dedication that will be offered in the process.
There are of course less formal ways of learning another language. It can be done through watching foreign movies and TV shows, listening to CDs and tapes, reading foreign newspapers and magazines preferable with a friend who knows the language,and use of phrase books and dictionaries. One of the best options is to try to talk in the desired language for regular designated times.
In the end, only actual use and regular practice can ensure comprehensive learning of a foreign or second language. True learning is not only limited to literal translations which is not always exact. It is about learning the essence of the language complete with pronunciation, tongue inflection,and the underlying meanings of the words.