5 Ways to Maximize Your Language Learning Potential

Don’t think you can learn to speak a language? I think you can.

Go on, challenge yourself!

“Go on, challenge yourself, jump in!” Uisce and Saša at Lough Gur, Co. Limerick, Ireland.

Scientific American recently had a guest post about increasing your intelligence. Here’s how that article by Andrea Kuszewski started:

“One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.” —Albert Einstein

While Einstein was not a neuroscientist, he sure knew what he was talking about in regards to the human capacity to achieve. He knew intuitively what we can now show with data—what it takes to function at your cognitive best. In essence: What doesn’t kill you makes you smarter.

Similarly, learning a language is hard work, and I think that’s good.

5 ways to increase your linguistic ability

The same Scientific American article describes 5 ways to increase your intelligence, according to the latest research.

First, some principals that the research emphasized were:

  • The more you practice, the more you know.
  • Anyone can increase their cognitive ability, no matter from what starting point.

I think the same principals can directly help you in your language learning goals.

Now, here are the 5 ways to maximize your language learning potential, based on the 5 ways to maximize your intelligence:

1. Seek Novelty

Finding new things basically makes your brain go into overdrive. You’re curious, you’re thinking more, and you’re actually learning. Not only that, novelty also triggers dopamine, increasing your motivation levels.

For learning the Irish language (which is what we’re interested in), find a new TG4 show to watch online. Seek novelty by taking a Bitesize Irish Gaelic online language lesson that you’ve never taken before.

2. Challenge Yourself

Learning over and over again from the exact same game, lesson or book chapter is not enough. Once you start getting better at something, research finds that you need to keep challenging yourself!

Again, find new ways of learning and practicing a language. Create a deck of flashcards, and keep adding more words to it to increase your vocabulary.

3. Think Creatively

This calls for both sides of you brain to come into action. Doing this “requires divergent thinking (a wide range of topics/subjects)”.

Try to find connections between different concepts.

How I think you could apply this to learning to speak a language is in grammar, in particular. Grammar has lots of rules and patterns and are difficult to learn. Try to grasp one rule, learn another rule, and then see if there’s a connection between them.

4. Do Things The Hard Way

Doing something “efficiently” actually makes learning more difficult! Perhaps this is because when you’re efficient at something, your brain is on auto-drive.

The example the author gives is that you might be bad with directions to start with, but if you start depending on a GPS device, and you’ll only get worse!

Using technology to learn better might be certainly useful. However, don’t turn your back on thoughtful learning with a pencil and paper.

5. Network

Get in touch with people. Network with them, through Facebook, Twitter, or actually meeting with them. Leave a reply below this article to share with others reading here.

For learning a language, you’ll be immersing yourself much better in that language. You’ll see how people use it, and you’ll get different ideas of how to learn.

Here’s my tip, if you have no other language learners around you, try teaching a few phrases to your friend! That will mean you’re using the language, and it makes you think harder to try to remember it.

P.S.

With Bitesize Irish Gaelic, you can learn the Irish language in a fluid way. You’ll have access to all of the lessons in any order. You can do them at your own pace, but do try to challenge yourself! Try something new: sign up for our online Irish Gaelic lessons.

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