Learning and memory
Success in Learning a foreign language
Success in language learning depends on a learner’s ability to memorize.
When learning a new language, one of the things you need to learn is vocabulary. Fore beginner learners, learning vocabulary in a foreign language means that you need to remember a lot of unusual combinations of sounds.
At the beginning you will learn words and short sentences isolated from a general flow of speech. Yet, the actual challenge will be to recognize them in someone's speech and use them along with the context as clues to figure out the entire meaning they are trying to convey. Having language skills also means being able to to pronounce sounds and sound combinations without ambiguity so that you can be understood.
When children learn their first language, they get constant reminders from their parents. It's different for adults. Since there is a lot to memorize, you'll want to have notes to serve you as reminders. That's why you'll also need to learn writing in the language you are learning even if your main goal is to be fluent orally. Of course, as the time goes by, you are going to use your writing skills not only to access things in our memory, but also to communicate in writing in that language.
Learning and age
Most adults who start to learn their first foreign language are not prepared for the complicacy. When we can't remember, we get discouraged. That's when learners may come up with excuses. One of the most common ones is, "I am too old". Brain experts however recognize that much of what we thought we knew about the brain development is not true or is incomplete.
As little as 25 years ago, we thought that after about puberty, the only changes that took place in the brain were negative. Now we know for sure that nothing could be farther from the truth. Recent studies have shown remarkable amounts of positive reorganization in the adult brain as a result of learning. Also, the more we consciously learn something, the easier it gets to learn it. Also, learning is not limited by age whatsoever.
You learn even when you think you don't learn
By the way, even when you think you don't learn, you also learn. Due to scientific and technological progress, we learn there are lazy ways of being: we no longer memorize birthdays and phone numbers, we choose to stare at screens instead of hands on activities, and we take pills to reduce discomfort such as pain or anxiety.
Our behavior of avoiding effort affects our brain the same wa conscious learning does because of the neuroplasticity of our brains. By acting or avoiding to act, we we build or reinforce neural pathways. The neural pathways are the foundation of our habits. If you want to succeed in learning, you need to go through the initial effort. It should feel good to know though that it becomes easier and easier by time because of those neural pathways. Also, there is no neuroplasticity pill you can take.
Memorization techniques that are not used enough
When it comes to memorization in language learning, I am going to rephrase what I said at the beginning of this article: Learning a language means getting used to noticing new sounds, practicing to replicate them and to learn what signs represent them graphically (reading and writing).
The ultimate goal in language learning, of course, is to be able to communicate. Most often my clients want to learn to communicate orally though. That's probably because the latest technologies have made it possible to communicate somewhat successfully is languages we don't know.
When if comes to mastering oral language skills, I have become a fan of three methods:
If you would like to book a conversation with me to help you design a foreign language learning plan that suits your individual needs, you are invited to book a session with me at a 50% discount. To get the discount, state the word MEMORY when you do the booking and pay the fee.