As adults, we sometimes feel intimidated about learning a new language. It seems daunting. It seems difficult. It need not be though.
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We're more motivated than children
The first thing to realize is that as adults, we have more motivation to learn a second language than children. We're usually learning for a specific reason, whether it be travel, our career, or just for fun, we fully understand why we want to learn a new language. That gives us a leg up!
Having a specific goal is a great way to keep motivated. Rather than just "I want to learn French because I like to travel to France", make your goal specific, e.g. "I want to be able to hold an intermediate conversation with a native speaker about the top news story of the day, when I get to Paris next June". If you're taking lessons with a teacher, tell him or her your goal.
The cognitive benefits of learning a second language have been known for a long time. For a lot of us, as we age keeping a sharp mind is a top priority. More and more scientific evidence is pointing to bilingualism being one great way to keep our minds sharp. The effects of bilingualism on reducing the likelihood of brain-related degeneration is being actively studied, but the initial findings are promising.
Career benefits - increased salary worth the cost of learning!
In many fields, speaking a second language can open doors, and lead to higher salaries. According to a review by salary.com, bilingual individuals earn 5 - 20% more than their monolingual counterparts. The relatively small cost of learning a second language can be far outshadowed by the earning increase over time! A poll found that 31% of business executives speak more than one language; your coworkers simply knowing that you've mastered a second language will help your image as a knowledgeable employee.
It's not as difficult as we sometimes imagine it to be
We've sometimes heard "learning a language as an adult is difficult"! While it's true that if we start learning a language as a young child, we're more likely to reach full fluency than if we start learning as an adult, that in no way precludes us from learning as an adult. As adults we have a lot of advantages over learning as a child; motivation, discipline, financial ability, etc.
Learning a language as an adult isn't nearly as difficult as we sometimes think it to be. By taking a structured approach, goal setting, and setting up a schedule that will keep us working diligently at it, we can as adults learn a new language much faster than we could have as a child!
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