Watching a foreign movie in your target language is a great way to expose yourself to your foreign language. While you probably won’t understand everything (especially if it’s a war movie), you will begin to develop an ‘ear’ for your language. You don’t even have to buy them because there are plenty online. Try and find a series of a common ‘soapie’ as they have very predictable and everyday language. You will be hearing the words spoken at normal speed and acclimatizing yourself when you visit your target country. Be wary of watching foreign language films with subtitles as it will just become a reading exercise and subtitled or dubbed films may lose a lot in translation.
Reading a foreign language newspaper can also help you discover idiosyncrasies of your target country. Highlight all the new words and look them up. But then make sure you create your own sentences to incorporate your new words into your language. Go to http://newspapermap.com/ to see articles in all target country languages.
Try reading children’s books in your new language and you may find you can comprehend a lot more language as they are easier to understand especially if the stories are known to you. Be wary of the classics as you may not know the words for prince and princess which abound in these books. The Hungry Caterpillar for example is available in many languages. Reading illustrated children’s books really works well with VLLC’s learning method of picture sound association.
Singing songs in a foreign language is another great way to learn phrases, language and culture. You can Google nursery rhymes in foreign languages and more modern songs. Hearing popular songs from Eurovision is also another idea.
You can learn a lot about foreign foods, culture and language by eating out at authentic ethnic restaurants. Not only will you enjoy the tastes specifically related to your target country but you will also experience menus written in foreign language and allow yourself to get used to the various national dishes of that country. Try talking to the wait staff in your new language and try cooking some of these foods at home.
Label objects in your house in your new language- put post it notes on your furniture, with a note on your fridge asking – What do you want to eat? This allows you to practice your new language every day.
Don’t get discouraged at the beginning stages. The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Keep taking steps every day towards your fluency and enjoy your language journey.
I recently read an article in The New Yorker about bilingualism. It was written by Maria Konnikova and relates to the correlation between speaking and learning a foreign language to prevent or postpone dementia. Below is an excerpt from her article.
One of the areas where the bilingual advantage appears to be most persistent isn’t related to a particular skill or task: it’s a general benefit that seems to help the aging brain. Adults who speak multiple languages seem to resist the effects of dementia far better than monolinguals do. When Bialystok examined the records for a group of older adults who had been referred to a clinic in Toronto with memory or other cognitive complaints, she found that, of those who eventually developed dementia, the lifelong bilinguals showed symptoms more than four years later than the monolinguals. In a follow-up study, this time with a different set of patients who had developed Alzheimer’s, she and her colleagues found that, regardless of cognitive level, prior occupation, or education, bilinguals had been diagnosed 4.3 years later than monolinguals had. Bilingualism, in other words, seems to have a protective effect on cognitive decline. That would be consistent with a story of learning: we know that keeping cognitively nimble into old age is one of the best ways to protect yourself against dementia. (Hence the rise of the crossword puzzle.) When the brain keeps learning, as it seems to do for people who retain more than one language, it has more capacity to keep functioning at a higher level.
That, in and of itself, is reason enough to learn a second, third, fourth, or fifth language—and to keep learning them as long as you’re able. The bilingual advantage may not appear in the exact guise researchers think of it today. But, on a fundamental level, bilingualism’s real benefits could be far more important.
Learning a language is a fun and easy way to not only give you an interest after retirement, but as an extra bonus, can delay the onset of Alzheimer's Disease. Contact VLLC if you would like to discuss this further.
There is a definite advantage in learning a language through what VLLC calls, the Mother Tongue method! VLLC has been proving its success for 30 years and have thousands of success stories of students who have gained the ability to communicate in a foreign language after learning this way. I recently read an article by Judith Thurman who wrote about her experience with a person who is multi-lingual and speaks over 30 languages. I have included an excerpt below about her observation of how this person experienced language.
Thurman writes "He spent several days raptly eavesdropping on native speakers in markets and cafés and on long bus rides, bathing in the warm sea of their voices. If we took a taxi to some church or ruin, he would ride shotgun and ask the driver to teach him a few common foreign phrases, or to tell him a joke. He didn’t record these encounters, but in the next taxi or shop he would use the new phrases to start a conversation. Hyperpolyglots, Erard writes, exhibit an imperative “will to plasticity,” by which he means plasticity of the brain. But I was seeing plasticity of a different sort, which I myself had once possessed. In my early twenties, I had learned two languages simultaneously, the first by “sleeping with my dictionary,” as the French put it, and the other by drinking a lot of wine and being willing to make a fool of myself jabbering at strangers. With age, I had lost my gift for abandon. That had been my problem with Vietnamese. You have to inhabit a language, not only speak it, and fluency requires some dramatic flair.
If you would like to master a new foreign language with abandon, Contact VLLC.
I have had many big goals, ones I have gone for and achieved. I earned my master’s in psychology, became a private investigator after working in the security industry for 20 years, co-authored two books, and grew my speaking and mentoring business into a profitable company. It wasn’t always easy—it was a huge commitment and it took a lot of determination each time. But let’s face it. Sometimes we give up on our goals because we don’t follow through on everything we should do. We all do it. Starting today and moving ahead, don’t be one of those people that doesn’t achieve their dreams. Not because you fail—because we all make mistakes. More because we should live with absolutely no regrets, because you don’t want to go through life knowing that you didn’t go for it in life.
In my work as a motivational speaker and mentor, I talk with people that have not achieved their goals, and, usually, it’s not because their goal wasn’t a great one—it’s because they give up too soon, before reaping the rewards of their efforts.
If this resonates with you, I want you to change that—to become one of those people who do achieve their dreams. I want to share my personal experience and what I advise clients are the characteristics that help drive you to huge success to accomplish your goals. Here are five qualities you need to reach your biggest goals:
1. Be positive.
I have always believed that everything starts with a positive mindset. What you put your mind to is where you will put action to. You have to believe in yourself and stay positive as much as you can. Some of the best ways to do this are to surround yourself with positive, inspiring people; journal your progress; and start each day reading an inspirational article or listening to something positive and motivational.
2. Be persistent.
At times when you are trying to reach a large goal, there are people that are going to say “no” to what you want and need. I have been told that and you will, too. Strong, successful people do not give up. You don’t want to push too hard on people—sometimes it just takes a 15 percent shift in your strategy. And sometimes it’s that very next person who will say “yes.” So keep moving forward on your goals. Always believe that today is going to be your day.
3. Be patient.
You must also have amazing patience when going for your biggest goals. We all want to achieve our goals today. We want the fruits of our labor right now, but sometimes the timing isn’t right for our goal. As Beverly Sills said, “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” Get into a mindset that the wait will be worth it. Take massive action on anything that you can, but remember that great things take time. Your dreams are worth the wait.
4. Be resilient.
Throughout our lives, there are people and situations that will try to throw us off our path to success. There will be people that will try to tell you that you can’t do it, and there will be challenges along the way that might want to make you quit. Resilience is definitely a quality that you need to have in order to make it. If you find yourself doubting yourself at times, one of the best things you can do is hire a mentor or coach to help you positively push through. Alone you can do a lot, but together with the right support system, you’ll find that you’ll accomplish so much more.
5. Be adaptable.
As Og Mandino said, “Always take the attitude of a student. Never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.” You must always learn and grow through life because that will help you achieve great success. You must have an open mind to the awesome possibilities and opportunities out there. Surround yourself with really smart people who you can learn and grow from. When you surround yourself with others who have already taken the path that you are on, it’ll open you up to awesome strategies to achieve success.
You deserve to achieve your goals and dreams. If want it, you have to go for it—but you have to do the right things to achieve it. Be positive, persistent yet patient, have resilience and always be adaptable.
What are your big goals that you want to achieve? Believe in yourself. You can do this!
Warning: When you aim high, you set yourself up to fall far. Find out why it’s worth it.
Cynthia Bazin is a 2015 SUCCESS BlogStars winner, nominated and voted upon as one of the most influential self-development writers and bloggers on the web.
- See more at: http://www.success.com/blog/5-qualities-you-need-to-reach-your-biggest-goals#sthash.ngyE0mV7.dpuf
I was reading from a great site on the Better Health Channel and thought I would share their tips about how to reduce stress over Christmas. Christmas is typically one of the most stressful events of the year. The expense of buying gifts, the pressure of last minute shopping, and the heightened expectations of family togetherness can all combine to undermine our best intentions. Some practical suggestions can help you reduce your 'Christmas stress' and enjoy the true reason for the season.
Budgeting for Christmas
For many of us, the Christmas aftermath includes massive credit card bills that can take months to clear. Christmas doesn't have to be a financial headache if you plan ahead. Stress reduction strategies include:
If you have a large circle of extended family or friends to buy gifts for, it can be very costly. You might be able to reduce the stress and cost of Christmas for everyone if you suggest a change in the way your family and friends give presents. For example, you could suggest that your group:
According to a recent study by Roy Morgan Research, around 60 per cent of Australians dislike Christmas shopping, just 20 per cent plan their shopping expeditions, and the majority of us (nearly 75 per cent) often come home without a single purchase for our efforts.
Stress reduction strategies for successful Christmas shopping include:
The Christmas lunch (or dinner)
Preparing a meal for family and friends can be enjoyable but tiring and stressful at the same time.
Some tips to reduce the stress of Christmas cooking include:
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common during the festive season. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal. Stress reduction strategies include:
The little extras
Other ways you might be able to reduce the stress include:
General health and wellbeing
Some other ways to keep your stress levels down include:
Stimulate your brain with new experiences e.g. learning a language. This is a great way to keep your brain active – it’s socially useful (pick the right language) and it’s interesting because you can feel like a different person. It’s also easy to judge if you’re doing well because you can tell instantly if someone understands you.
Don’t be passive. This can be a problem for people living by themselves. Some research has suggested a great incidence of Alzheimer’s among people who passively watch the television. Have a conversation instead or get involved in an activity where you are interacting.
These are just a few – do you have more memory tips to add to this list??
Taking language lessons is one thing, but you can only develop your skills when you practice your new skill each and every step of the way. This blog will give you some ideas that you, as a language student, can use to establish your skills. As we all know, there’s a difference between having a goal of learning a language and making it a reality (this is no different to all of our goals).
I think the conscious competence ladder illustrates the process of developing your new skill really well. The conscious competence ladder is a series of 4 stages that begin with you being in a state of ignorance to you being able to use your skill on a subconscious level. Think about some of the skills you already have such as: driving a car, bike riding, skiing, reading – then think about how you got to that point.. I guarantee that at first it was really awkward and difficult, but all of a sudden it became SUBCONSCIOUS……..
Noel Birch, an employee with Gordon Training International, developed the Conscious Competence Ladder in the 1970s.
So how can you get your language to the unconscious competence level?
One of my favourite sayings is: “repetition is the mother of all learning…..” but it is really important to use repetition with intention and passion (or energy), not mindlessly, without thought…. So when you are using active learning… it generally takes 7-9 repetitions to move something from the conscious mind to the subconscious mind.
“When we practise something, we are involved in the deliberate repetition of a process with the intention of reaching a specific goal. The words deliberate and intention are key here because they define the difference between actively practising something and passively learning it.” – Thomas Sterner, The Practising Mind. Passive learning creates knowledge. Active practice creates skill.
A couple of ideas for you are:
Stop thinking and start doing and enjoy the process… Your language journey will open your mind to another world.
Learning a language for some is easy, and yet for others, it is close to impossible. However, much about learning a language is in the mind, and we must remember that our brain is a powerful thing. The best way to get to grips with learning a language fast, is to have a general idea of how your subconscious works and how we learn in different ways.
Children are the best example of how the subconscious mind helps learn a language. Children who grow up in households, or just countries where more than one language is spoken, become bi or multi-lingual very quickly. They are absorbed in the language through the constant repetition of words, phrases and even mannerisms, allowing the brain and mind to soak up the language while almost resting. There is no forced “you will learn this” when it comes to children, no learning grammar, and this means the child is confident in learning the language and feels confident in speaking it.
The mind plays tricks on us all the time, and for many, overcoming the fear of speaking a language is one of the greatest challenges. However, the childlike approach to using the mind, especially a more subconscious mind technique which uses repetition, is one of the best language learning methods. Vocational Language Learning Centre uses this technique and has had much success with teaching many students a new language. Once one has learned to relax the mind and accepted it is not a race to learn the language fast, you will become more receptive. Being more receptive means you will learn, and may even learn more quickly as your confidence grows.
Becoming socially interactive through language also improves the learning experience. Confidence grows and the immersion in conversation prepares the mind to both listen and speak in a natural, if somewhat daunting situation.
Many people talk about mind maps when it comes to learning a language. Bringing together the lexicon and syntax is in many ways what learning a language is. It is a little like a jigsaw puzzle and once one learns what goes with which, things fall into place. This way of learning is less subconscious and more structured and logical. It basically creates a map for the language learner to follow. It does work and is very much a more deliberate way of teaching the mind to work, or think in a certain way.
Our human brains and our minds are more than capable of learning another language or multiple languages. There is not many people who are unable to learn (unless there is a medical learning difficulty), some just find it more difficult than others, especially those who feel pressured into speaking or using a language. Of course, there are now many shortcuts to learning a language such as translation apps etc but in reality, nothing beats really learning the language and actually communicating to someone in their native tongue.
Language stimulates the brain and the challenge in applying the mind should be embraced. For many, a combination of understanding, applying and using rules along with the social use of language, will be how they eventually learn. The mind is a very powerful tool, and in a nutshell, it needs a combination of stimulation and relaxation to deliver the results you are looking for. When you understand how best your mind works, learning a language is merely a matter of time and perhaps placing mind over matter.
Can you remember the last time you met someone in the street that you know and you forgot their name? You are usually with someone and feel rude not doing an introduction. Your mind goes into a panic searching for the name – which you get - as you are walking away.
You are having a language assessment and the tutor asks you what your name is in your new language and you can’t answer – you have no idea where the information is…..even though you have said it EVERY tutorial since you started.
Often information is on the tip of our tongues, but we just can’t access it in the moment. The following is not scientific – it is my subjective experience, but it may resonate with you.
I imagine my mind like a filing cabinet. Everything I have seen, heard and learned has been filed in the correct drawer, but when I am stressed or putting pressure on myself – T-H-E—D-R-A-W-E-R-S—S-T-I-C-K…….when I am relaxed the drawers open easily and smoothly.
So the secret – as with everything – IS TO RELAX. Don’t put more pressure on your brain to remember – trust that the information is there and that you are able to recall it. Another strategy I use is to ask myself a specific question: What is the Italian word for xxx? What is that person’s name? Then relax…..It will pop into your mind a few moments later. IF you want quicker recall, you need to learn to put your body and mind into a state of relaxation quicker. (This is the subject for another blog).
Try these tips for words you forget in your new language and let me know your experience.
I hope you have put into practise some of my tips from the last blog. Please share any that work well for you, with me and the VLLC community. Here are a few more.
Tip 7. Consistent learning will achieve a better result for you than having intense periods of learning followed by periods of no learning. The same principle applies to fitness – regular consistent effort is more effective in the long run. Try diarizing 15 - 30 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week (or better still each day) to do something in your new language (online lesson, homework – even listening to music will be of benefit).
Tip 8. Start with 100 words and then make sentences with them over and over again. You don’t need to know lots of grammar to be able to do this – just use what you know and you will begin to become comfortable with thinking in your new language. E.g. “Where is ……..? I want to ………; Do you want ……..? etc”
It’s amazing what you can actually say with 100 words. I remember reading somewhere (sorry, I can’t remember where….) that the most common 100 words in any language account for 50% of all spoken communication; the most common 1,000 words account for 80% of all spoken communication. Amazing isn’t it, how few words we actually need to communicate with each other. Many students get ‘stuck’ because they continually focus on what they don’t know rather than using what they do know.
Tip 9. Practise your new language in your head. Practice sentences and conversations in your head in your new language before speaking with a native speaker. This is like role playing and leads to much easier conversations when you actually have them. I am continually amazed at how fluent I am in my head!!! Obviously this does not replace real conversations but can be a useful tool to help you learn to ‘think’ in your new language.
Tip 10. ‘I understand; I don’t understand; please repeat; please speak slowly; one more time’ are the some of the most important phrases you can learn in your new language. Use them all the time when you are having a conversation (even in your head) rather than reverting to English. It is critical to stay in your new language zone…….
Tip 11. Speak – speak – speak. You must create the new habit of speaking out loud in your new language. Create as many opportunities as you can to have conversations. At first it may be awkward and you will be out of your comfort zone, but as you persist you will create new comfort zones for yourself. Having real conversation with native speakers is completely different to doing an online lesson or practising in your head as you are being forced to formulate meaning and significance in your new language on the spot. Use Tip 10 to help you.
Tip 12. Make it fun - Engage your emotions. We all know that emotion (or passion) is the language of the subconscious mind. If you are going to stick to your goal of becoming bi- or multi- lingual, you have to find a way to engage your emotions and make the learning journey fun. We all learn better when we enjoy the topic or the learning process - find people you enjoy talking to; talk about topics that you are interested in; listen to music that you love; make it personal…
Try these tips and let me know if you want me to expand on any of them. My next blog will be on ways that you can practise your language skills.
Happy learning, Jo
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and how utilising that skill can help to keep your mind active and assist with your cognitive function.