Language Learning

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I’ve been in the process of learning the piano again, after stopping as a child, and now as an adult, picking it back up again.

I’m realizing now, how many correlations there are to learning a new language. In a way, this is my language learning. Here are a few things I’m learning along the way.

  1. Practice and Patience I talked with a piano teacher this summer, and she said to practice 30 minutes a day, instead of several hours in one block of time. It’s helpful to spread it out. Spread out your language learning time, but be consistent! It’s slow work, but there is progress, even when you don’t see it. Give yourself the patience that you would give someone else. It’s a lot of work learning a new language! Your brain is working hard, and it takes time.
  2. Set Goals: Set a goal for yourself. “By x amount of months, I want to be this fluent in the language.” Take steps toward that goal, because each of those steps adds up, and remember, that just like children don’t walk in a day, so we aren’t going to be fluent in a day. That’s okay! Set a goal and work towards it.
  3. Reflect: Take some time to reflect on how far you have come. Remember when you first landed and didn’t know a single word in the language? Spend a day reflecting on where you have come from, so that you are able to see the progress. And just like piano, sometimes the teacher, and others, can see your progress more than you can.
  4. Be realistic and Be Yourself: I find myself comparing to others. Whether that’s piano learning or language learning, I think it’s easy to compare. It’s easy to compare to your spouse, a friend, a roommate, or teammate. Be yourself. Be you, and celebrate with others their progress, as they celebrate with you your progress. If others have begun the language process before you, be realistic in setting goals and let go of the comparison game(I’m very much speaking to myself as I write these words). May we find beauty in celebrating with others instead of comparing to others.
  5. Enjoy the journey: It’s as much about the journey as the end result. Enjoy the journey, knowing that each step of the way of needed. Language learning is a slow process, much like climbing a mountain. Enjoy the journey of the climb, and know that one day, the words will flow, even if right now they feel jumbled.

I pray that this season of language learning would be fruitful, that you would continue to press onward, taking one more step, and then one more. And Bon Voyage or, “Good Journey!”

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