Languages are fun. Trust me. Yes, the idea of learning may seem terrible for you. You imagine books of 500 pages with no interesting points in them, no pictures, just long boring paragraphs one after another…and another. Don’t worry, this article will not last that long.
It doesn’t have to be like that. You can look at it from a different perspective. For instance, you will read something new, which means you will know more than before. You will get smarter and well-informed. Who does not want to be smart and intelligent? Who does not want to be the most fetching rhetorician? I definitely do. And what is even more attractive than a smart, well-read person? The person who learns languages and can drag you in discussion in your own language (whatever it is).
At first, forget about the common myth many people believe in that you have to be born with talent for languages. It is not correct. It depends on your approach towards languages and the means and tools you choose to learn the language. As Benny Lewis says: “Learning languages opens the world for you…” (Ferriss, 2014). And he knows what he is talking about. Benny Lewis is an Irish language teacher and the author of a successful book Fluent in 3 Months. He speaks 7 languages fluently but can communicate in other 4 at least on the basic level. He claims he was never good at languages during the high school but when he discovered a system to learn it, it became much easier. In the article devoted to language learning Tim Ferriss interviewed Benny and here are some tips from him…
Tips from Benny
- Don’t even think about being too old to learn new language
- Learn the most frequently used words from the language
- Don’t forget about cognates / the words you already know because they are the same in your own language
- Learn the language even if you do not travel to the country of origin
- Use skype every day to speak the language
- Try free courses / there is plenty of them such as DuoLingo
- Use mnemonics to remember words
- Don’t be upset about making mistakes in language. Everyone does.
- Create a plan to get your level from A through B to C little by little
- Practice in conversation and your native sound
- Speak multiple languages and that means constant practice and improvement
There are many articles that deal with language learning and can give you some great tips to start. But if you cannot decide which path to take, pick some of this article’s bit. It offers you tips for great books to start reading when you begin with the new language learning.
Type of books
It is obvious not to begin with Shakespeare when you are taking your first English lecture so here are some easy English books to read for the start. Start from the children’s books. Why children books? Because they are fun, the grammar and vocabulary are very simple and the plots are really engaging to catch up. such as:
Charlotte’ s Web by E. B. White
This children’s novel depicts the friendship of a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. It is full of fun, and adults love it as much as children.That proves why the National Education Association added the book on the list of Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children in 2007!
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
The book with international synopsis which story you probably already know. It continues to be huge even in the 21st century in the form of an e-book available on internet (Ref. 3)
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl or any other book by Roald Dahl
I highly recommend this author since his stories are captivating and soooo good!
The wind and the willows by Kenneth Grahame
The author uses simple language that you can easily pick up and through his imagination you can appear right in the story in English countryside
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
The book served as a means for learning to read for many American children in 1950s mainly because of its lively illustrations and use of one-syllable words.
Then you can move to the another level and go through the more complex ones as the ones displayed on the picture:
Some books are easier to read than the others depending on the author’s style of writing. You can see what suits you the best from the first sentence of the book. If you are brave you can easily jump from Hemingway to Conrad or from Marquez’s short stories to Murakami’s ones. Reading will help you in language with its many advantages such as learning vocabulary from the context of the book. You can improve your grammar and writing and you can choose your own speed of reading. No one is pushing you to read 90 pages per day…unless you have exams and you did not learn for a whole semester but left everything for the last day before the exam…In that case, reading may be stressful. However here are a list that could help you:
Tips that make your reading easier
- Organize – find a book you want to read, the place where to be comfortable while reading, prepare the notebook and pen for your notes
- Choose the text you can understand without looking in the dictionary after every second word
- Write down new vocabulary
- Read on the regular basis e.g. every day for 30 minutes
- Read what you like e.g. romantic novels, detective stories, biographies etc. It is much easier to stay focus if you choose a topic you like, and you will found yourself learning without even noticing.
And as Research from 2009 at University of Sussex proves, reading is the activity that can help you to cope with problems of your everyday life in general.
Psychologist from University of Sussex found out that among other things such as walking, listening to music or drinking a tea, reading is a great means to fight stress as well.
So…what are you waiting for? Grab a book and let yourself immerse in someone else’s story.
My final advice to you : read intensively and read your hobby.