Photo source: CollegeDegrees360
By SARAH TAN
Every Malaysian knows at least English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, no matter how limited their vocabulary may be. How else are we going to order our wan tan mee, nasi lemak or roti canai? In our largely diverse country, there are so many languages and dialects spoken daily.
As we are encouraged to pick up new languages in this week’s pullout, here are a few tips that will help you in learning your desired language:
Have short classes daily
The key to learning any language is practice. Having daily classes will ensure what you learnt in your previous lesson won’t be forgotten easily.
When it comes to learning anything, quality has better value over quantity. Hold short classes ranging from 30–60 minutes every day. This allows you to use your time optimally by putting in proper concentration during classes.
Learn through creative mediums
All students who study smart are sure to know one of the best study secrets: learning through song. I used to sing the first 20 elements of the periodic table in my head to save time from flipping to the reference sheet.
The same method can be applied to learning language. Interested in learning Malay? Listen to some of Zee Avi’s songs, or even watch P. Ramlee’s legendary movies. Not only are they guaranteed to work, you can also learn in a fun way.
Get language flashcards and skim through them every day. Flashcards come in handy as they are small enough to bring along with you, and succinct enough to not require too much time to look through.
Bring a few cards along with you everywhere you go and take them out while waiting in line or for a bus, and turn your time into something productive.
An even better way is to list down 100 of the most common words and make your own flashcards. Writing down the words will help in committing them to memory.
Chances are, you are learning this new language in hopes of using it one day. While reading, listening and writing your target language are great ways to learn, nothing beats practising the language with a native speaker. This will help you gain confidence for future use, as well as improve your fluency.
Our first time speaking a new language will sound weird and probably a little funny. The most important thing is to not let that discourage you. Don’t be afraid to embrace your mistakes!
Keeping these tips in mind, I urge you to go beyond your current knowledge of any one of the languages you are interested in speaking, and try to pick one up as a second tongue. Have fun on your learning journey!