Over the summer my fiancé and I traveled to West Africa to visit his native country of Ghana and his family. We had a great visit and spent some time in four different countries: Morocco, The Gambia, Senegal, and Ghana. During the trip, I heard many different languages, which got me thinking about languages in general and the process of learning another language. Every language is unique, beautiful, and intricate. Learning another one gives you new windows to view the world through.
However, as anyone who has ever attempted it knows, learning another language can also be a challenging process. I learned Spanish in the past, and recently I have been working on learning one of my Fiancé’s native languages called Twi. It’s so different from English and is proving to be harder than learning Spanish was. My mouth is still learning to move in new ways, and my ears are struggling to hear sounds they’ve never had to distinguish before. It’s a process, but it’s also exciting. Although it’s hard, I know I can do it. I know that given dedication, hard work, and the right strategies, I’ll one day be able to communicate in Twi.
As someone who teaches and also learns new languages, one advice I would give to anyone learning another language is that it is important to develop the ability to recognize mistakes and self-correct. It’s a skill that I try to develop in students in my classroom, and it’s also something I try to do when I speak the languages I am learning. If you are currently in the process of becoming multilingual, take time to analyze the language, look for patterns you know, and things that don’t follow what you’ve learned. Teach yourself to find mistakes and correct them.
If you are learning English, the Sunday Review is a resource that can help you with this process. After a summer break, the Sunday Review is back for the fall semester with a weekly list of sentences with common mistakes for you to analyze and correct. Plan to take 20 minutes each week to sit down with a cup of coffee and teach your brain to recognize common mistakes in English.