How to Learn a Language – TRIAL & ERROR

Trial and error. What is it? It’s about figuring out the best way to achieve a goal by trying different methods and fixing any mistakes along the way.

How does this affect someone learning a language?

Let’s picture a child when first learning to hit a ball. The brain makes calculations and conclusions every time they swing at the ball. Whether the ball is missed or hit, the brain will reinforce the connections on the hits and disregard the misses.

Learning a language is the same way. Our ‘hits’ are when we learn new vocabulary and new grammar and new sounds successfully. 🙂

Now imaging our brain like a field with tall grass. It can be difficult to navigate through the field, just as it is difficult to remember the words we need, or the grammar patterns to use. Here’s the main point though: The more often we correctly walk through a patch of tall grass, the more a useable trail will appear, making it easier to walk on each time after that.

Let’s apply this to language:

1. Take action! Just saying we want to walk in the field doesn’t mean we are walking. We need to actually do something. Pull out some flash cards and quiz ourselves. It just takes a few minutes. Each time we get a flash card right, we are reinforcing the correct path for that word and the recall for it will only get easier and easier.

2. Stay Regular! If you only walk occasionally, the path won’t take shape. Do a little of something EVERY DAY, even several times within the same day. Then once you make the path, stay regular so the weeds won’t come back. 

Your brain is amazing and it is rooting for you. If you just take a few minutes regularly, you can make a vast network of trails for your new language, all intertwining and helping you to improve more and more. Each learned word is a huge success, and you can begin to enjoy learning more and more words. 

Happy trails to you! 🙂

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