So today I’m going to be sharing with you a superpower that I have, which is speaking five languages. I will be speaking in each language and telling you a bit about how I have been learning it and at the end I’ll probably share some tips and tricks of learning foreign languages. I’ll start with my native language which is Azerbaijani.People often get surprised when they hear that I grew up in an Azerbaijani-speaking household because often times I either speak English or Russian and then when I easily switch to Azerbaijani, people get surpised. I spoke to my parents only in Azerbaijani And I really love this language and I feel immense pride in knowing and being able to speak this language. And I think that is very important that our children, our future generation, is capable of speaking our native language. For this, I urge that children read a lot of Azerbaijani literature and books in our native language. Since this is my native language, I spoke very briefly in it.
Now I am going to switch to Russian. I learned Russian language first in school. Then we studied Russian language and literature twice a week at school. I also spoke Russian to my brother and with my friends in school while still continued speaking Azerbaijani to my parents. Right now I am maintaining my knowledge of Russian language by reading some literature books in Russian, watching movies and articles, etc. Now I am going to switch to English. I started learning English when I went actually before I went to an English school. It was like a prep course but I basically went from beginners to really immersing myself into English language. My first year was super super challenging. It was my fourth grade and I had to do all subjects in English. It was very challenging for me but was that was the only year I struggled and then it was easier from there on.
And then I did my education in US. I did I studied International Relations at the George Washington University and then I did my Masters also in English. I will now speak a French. I started learning French in school when I was 6th grade. In school, we studied French as a foreign language. Then I also took some French courses at university because I had to take a foreign language. (since I was studying international relations) But it was really when I was doing my Masters Degree in Belgium, at the College of Europe, that I had to take lots of classes in French. It was there that I practiced my French every day. Now, I have a 5-year old daughter that goes to a French nursery school and every day with her I practice my French. I watch articles, cartoons with her. We read books in French and that really helps me not to forget French. I started learning Spanish when I was 12 years old. And I learned it in five years.
I had a private tutor that would come to our house and teach us Spanish. We did not have any homework to do after class. Whatever we did in class, that was it. That is why for me learning Spanish was never a burden but rather a pleasure. We listened to music, watched movies, translated books from Spanish to Russian And I really enjoyed doing that. Then, when I was studying international relations in the US, I had to pick a foreign language (as a part of my course). I chose Spanish and there I took Spanish for one year, more or less.And I really improved my Spanish there. I had Advanced Level Spanish. Nowadays, I try to speak Spanish, to listen to something in Spanish to watch movies in Spanish so that I do not forget the language. Thank you very much. There are actually two other languages that I have been learning when growing up but because I picked them I left them off at my high school and then I never picked them up later on I’m struggling right now to speak in those languages they way I speak the other five languages and that’s German and Arabic.
My German level is somewhere between intermediate but I’ve really lost the capacity to speak it well whereas with Arabic I can read and write and I can understand beginners level but I’m currently working on those two languages trying to bring them up to the level of those five languages and when I finish doing that I’ll probably be able to speak seven languages and I think that’s the most amazing skill that anyone can have. Speak as many languages as you can. So now that I have shown you how I speak those languages, I would like to share with you some of the tips and tricks that I have gathered in the process of learning these languages and I find that they help you to shift your perception of learning a language and make it easier for you to start learning one. So number one is- don’t put any deadlines. So I believe that learning language is a lifelong process; never have a start date. Actually, you will have a start date- the day you pick up the language and learn it but don’t put an end date to that.
That okay in one year I need to speak this language. That really puts you into a frame and makes you really dislike the process whenever you feel like you’re not doing it in the right time and that will make you really abandon learning the language. So think of it as a lifelong process, enjoy it and give yourself time to really immerse into the language. The second tip that I would share is – make it as easy and as comfortable as possible for you. So, for example, if you find it easier to watch a movie rather than to read your book in that language, watch a movie. If you find listening to some songs easier than watching the movie, do that. Whatever works for you; whatever is pleasurable and enjoyable for you you make it work for you. Because when learning is easy, it’s much more enjoyable, especially in the stages of early learning process. So make it easy for you, make it comfortable for you. Any learning is learning.
There are no rules to learning so be it article, be it music, be it books, whatever. Or maybe find a native speaker, who can teach you that language. So make it enjoyable and easy for yourself. The third tip that I would share with you is – never start with grammar. I know a lot of schools emphasize grammar and bombard you with grammatical rules but I urge you to start learning the language like a little kid would do; start with building up your vocabulary, try to speak that language, immerse yourself into that language, make it easy on your ears and then once you build it up or probably to an upper beginner level or an intermediate level you can start learning the grammatical rules and that would make more sense to you and you would enjoy it much more. So for me learning language is the best example of learning language is watching kids learning language; watching your child learn a language.
You never introduce him to grammar, you speak to him and only afterwards, once he is able to speak the language, we start telling them about grammar. The fourth tip that I’m going share with you is- tie to another thing that you’re doing in a day, so tie learning language to something else that you’re doing throughout the day. If you cannot dedicate 30 minutes or whatever timeframe you’ve given yourself, you will end up finding yourself back ok but into today’s thirty minutes you kind of give up on it and that would take you into a very negative, downward spiral you’ll give it up easily, you’ll stop learning at all.
So in order for you to make it easier and people to keep it up on a daily basis, I would urge you to tie it to something else that you’re doing throughout the day. Perhaps you’re cooking for one hour every day. Maybe while you cook, watch a movie in Spanish or French or whatever language you’re trying to learn, or even if that’s not possible, one hour is a lot, how about when you are brushing your teeth, which happens twice a day and you are taking about two minutes or one minute in an average a daily to brush your teeth, make it four minutes, so two in the morning, two in the evening so whenever you’re brushing your teeth, listen to something in the language you’re trying to learn.
That way you’ll make sure that you don’t miss a day of learning that language. The fifth tip that I will share with you is- speak it. I know this sounds very cliche and I know it’s obvious but speak it and practice it. Don’t be shy. Whenever you meet someone, who is a native speaker in that language, don’t feel shy about speaking and practicing the language because in reality you’re not a native speaker. It’s fine that you make mistakes. It’s fine that you are not very good and it’s fine that you’re not able to speak it so eloquently. This is not your native language and besides that when a native speaker hears you talk his language he’ll feel he or she will feel flattered by it and really love the fact that you’re speaking the language of the person you are having a conversation with. So speak and practice as much as you can and only that way you can really perfect your language. The sixth tip that I’m gonna share with you is- start as early as you can.
Don’t put it off for tomorrow. If you start today, you’re gonna be a day ahead so there’s no one ideal day to start learning language. Start the minute you decide you’re gonna learn the language. And, in fact, it’s never too early. A lot of kids in school ask me how did I end up speaking so many languages and I said when I was a kid my mom made me learn all the languages almost simultaneously and yes a lot of people did say that I’m gonna confuse them because especially Spanish and French that are quite similar. I did confuse them in the beginning of my learning process but once I hit a certain level in both languages, I never confused them and I’m so grateful to my mother for introducing me to different languages and making me learn them and now I recommend and urge if you’re a parent or if you want to learn the language yourself do it as early as you can.
Never put it off for tomorrow. Thank you so much guys for watching my articles; having patience to watch them till the end I would urge you to follow to my blog so you can keep posted on the new articles that I’m gonna be uploading. Thank you so much again and I hope to see you in my next articles. Bye :).
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