Thanks for the image: http://lynmidnight.blogspot.com
Today's blog post is part of a language learning moms blog carnival. These posts are written by moms, for moms and are intended to be a great resource of encouragement, advice, tips and ideas for language learning moms. If you're a mom or if you know a mom who is a language learner or who would like to be a language learner, please enjoy this post, share it with others and visit the other participating bloggers via the links at the bottom of this post.
Learning a new language as an adult can be a bitch, add in kids and there is a whole new level holy crap. When do you have the time? I have a *fill in the blank language* house because my children need to speak it too. I only speak in *blank* with my husband because that is how we met. And so on and so forth.
Here are my tips for learning a new language and surviving the process. I am no expert, I have merely gone through it myself.
1. Accept Small Victories. The mini-celebration I had when I managed to order my first pizza over the phone, all by myself I may add, was ridiculous. It was a Monday. I called everyone I knew. Some even came over to eat the pizza with me. The fact that it was such a simple day to day thing is what made it a huge deal. What do we normally use our language skills for anyway? I hardly discuss that Pulitzer prize I should have won by now for my fabulous blog. Nope, I order pizza over the phone. Practical win.
2. Be patient with yourself. Beating yourself up will only make you more emotionally unattractive, it will not make you learn a language faster. Breath.
3. Carry a small notebook and pen with you. Sure you look like a dork writing down that new phrase the newsstand man said but you will now be able to memorize it. My first year here I carried a small pad of paper and wrote down verbs, phrases, words, and the correct pronunciation of things I was saying incorrectly. People will correct you or say something in passing that isn't anything to them but is an entirely new sentence to you.
4. Go out on your own. I know it can be scary at times but do it. Bring the kids! Kids are a great opener for meeting other Moms and initiating friendships with local Mommies. If you are constantly with another person who speaks your native language or that and the language you are trying to learn, you will never be forced to use what you know and/or learn new stuff. It's like at the gym. The only way you improve is by pushing yourself.
5. Get comfortable inside your head. You will be put in many "local" situations where that is the only place you can retreat into when all the language learning gets to be too much. Make it a nice place to visit and enjoy that time.
6. Find local friends that don't speak your native language. This one will take time but is well worth it. They will have the patience to let you stumble through it and you will gain a new friend with a fresh perspective.
7. Don't worry if you can't seem to quite be yourself yet in your second language. 6 years of being here and I am only just now starting to be able to joke like Rachel in Portuguese. Certain things like humor don't literally translate. You essentially have to find your identity in the other language and it will be one that parallels perfectly with yours in your language. Go with it.
8. Don't be scared, disappointed, or too frustrated. Give it time, it'll happen.
9. When in doubt, smile.
10. When all else fails remember that one day you will speak the language well enough to use your foreigner ignorance label for evil instead of good. Take the situation in which my couch was delivered past the allowed time of our condominium. When confronted by the doorman I claimed foreigner ignorance. I'm American we don't have these rule. Is there any way they could let it slide just this once since I really didn't know? They did. It is always nice to have a secret get out of jail free card. By the way, before you feel guilty about using it, you will have earned it by the time you get there!
Thanks for reading and be sure and stop by these other great posts:
- Language Learning Mom Blog Carnival at The Crazy Baby Mama
- Learning Spanish Language: McMom's Happy Meal at Your Language Guide
- Motherhood & Language Learning: An Attempt to Reach the Lower Level of Babel at Multilingual Living
- The Story of How It Worked For Me: One Mom’s Journey at The Everyday Language Learner
- Language Learning Carnival at Sahm Sisters
- 7 Tips to Learn a New Language as a Mom at Early Languages
- The Lazy Expat Mom's Guide to Language Learning at I Was An Expat Wife