May 16, 2018
By Monica Salgado
So you want to speak a second language, great! There are a myriad of benefits coming from this popular item in almost every things-to- do-before-you-die list.
Now, there are some decisions to make , are you taking lessons
from an expert or a native speaker? Are you doing it by
However you want to accomplish this new challenge, you should know what needs to happen in order for you to acquire a second language.
But before that, let me explain the huge difference between learning a language and acquiring one.
If you want to understand the intricate structure of a language;
its grammar, phonology,
linguistics, etc. yes, you need to learn about it. There are people who learn languages this way;
in fact I am one of them. I learned English in Colombia, a Spanish speaking country, and I
learned it from the grammar, which made the process extremely long and poorly effective,
especially for the conversational skills (yes, the ones you want to get first). But at the end of the
day, I am a language teacher so I need to know all that.
In order for me to feel I could actually use what I’ve learned I had to look for ways to surround
myself with the language; no one would speak English to me in the supermarket, the drugstore
or at a restaurant, so if I wanted to understand it and speak it, I needed what we call immersion,
so I could make English part of me. That is acquisition and that’s what you need to aim for.
So now that we establish that you need to make this new language yours, let’s see what needs to happen for you to accomplish that.
1. Firstly, you need to know this is not a difficult crusade; it is a step in your development that will take time and a constant effort. It could last half an hour a day, even fifteen minutes and it will pay off. Make the decision and commit to yourself.
2. Surround yourself with the target language (the one you want to acquire). How can you do that? For instance, you can listen to music in that language, memorize the lyrics and sing along. You can
also use movies and TV series and of course, if your target language is Spanish, listen to our podcast! Listen to authentic Latin American native speakers who are also language teachers chatting about anything, explaining words and expressions according to basic, intermediate and advanced levels!
3. Know yourself and build a system; learn a new word and a new useful sentence of your interest every day, decide what the best time is for you to practice, etc. Correct your mistakes and get feedback!
4. When you get to a higher level, make predictions, conclusions, possible answers, you will notice how your brain is getting better at understanding the target language’s logic.
This process includes some principles from a theory called “Learnability Theory” however it never mentions grammar or specific nuances of a language.
Know that we all have (with some specific exceptions of course) the ability to use language to communicate we just need the new codes to open these new doors.
As you see, it all starts with a decision, your commitment, and a simple system.
We've got your back! Part of your immersion is already here! Send us your comments and questions and we will share our knowledge and success speaking other languages with you!