Is your New Year’s resolution to learn a new language? That’s awesome! You’ve picked a goal that will enhance your career success, expand your world and lead to new friendships.
We’re really excited for you, and we want to help. So today we’re answering some of the questions you might have about learning another language.
What’s the Most Useful Language to Study?
Maybe you already know the language you want to study. If you’ve just moved to another country or you’re planning for an international relocation, your choice was probably pretty clear! However, if you’re considering language lessons to enhance your career but you aren’t sure which language to choose, we have some suggestions.
If English is not your first language, you can’t go wrong with learning English for business, since it’s often the lingua franca among international companies (even those not located in English-speaking countries).
If you’re already fluent in English, we like this list of the other most useful languages to study. The author of this article points out that you should choose a language in part based on the resources available to you for studying that language. That’s a good point, but remember that online language training opens up resources to you that you might not have been aware of. For example, if there aren’t native-speaker instructors for the language you want to learn in your area, you could still study with a native speaker via Skype.
How Long Does It Take to Learn a New Language?
The prospect of mastering a second language might seem overwhelming. But as you study (hopefully with a live fluency partner), you’ll start seeing progress sooner than you might think. Try to break it into 10 hour chunks of time. Every 100 hours is a good level jump (no matter what level you’re starting at), so try to plan out how to get to 10, then start again. If you look at the big picture, it could seem impossible, but breaking it into digestible 10-hour chunks of time, make you feel as if it’s possible. With about 100 hours of instruction (about a year’s worth of Fluency Corp training at an average of 2 hours a week), there’s a huge change in communication ability. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
How Can I Learn a New Language Faster?
Here are a few sure-fire ways to speed up your learning.
- Practice with native speakers. If possible, take lessons in person or online with an instructor who’s a native speaker. They’ll help you understand your new language as it’s really spoken (complete with slang, idioms and regionalisms). Seize other opportunities to talk with native speakers as well. For example, are there events in your city where English speakers who want to learn Spanish and Spanish speakers who want to learn English can practice their skills with each other?
- Customize your learning. You’ll be a whole lot more motivated if your language lessons focus on vocabulary tailored to your needs instead of lists of generic vocabulary words. Also, learn the 100 most used words first, then keep learning the next 100 most used words.
- Immerse yourself in culture. Sometimes wanting to understand a show or a song is the best motivation to learn a language. Hey, Kobe Bryant mastered Spanish with the help of telenovelas!
How Can I Get My Employer to Pay for Language Training?
Language lessons for employees can be a great investment for many companies. If you think that’s true of your workplace, here are a few resources we created to help you make your case:
- If your company is sending you on an international assignment, language training for both you and your family helps ensure that your relocation will be successful (and not a waste of money for your company). Show your boss our blog post on how language training minimizes productivity losses during international relocations.
- Is your company balking at the cost of language training? Unfortunately, this is all too common, but it makes no sense. We have another blog post that breaks down the numbers to show how language training more than pays for itself.
- Finally, check out all the ways that language training creates business value. When you learn a new language, you’re not only helping your company stay competitive, you’re also enhancing your creativity, innovation, productivity and analytical skills.
Got more questions about learning a new language in 2019? Fluency Corp has the expertise and experience to help. As a leading provider of corporate language training, we offer on-site and online programs with native-speaker instructors. Contact us for a free consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 401-3159.