There are roughly 6,500 different languages spoken throughout the world today and each one offers an inconspicuous window into an alien world of wonder and discovery. Bilingualism essentially offers more than the said, “je ne sais quoi”- it is a means of communication within the brain that solicits the transferring of ideas from one source to another, fine-tuning the inner workings of the mind in the process.

In fact, mastering a new language does more than captivate your curiosity in opening these doors of intercultural communication; it has been proven to prevent the likes of dementia and Alzheimer’s, while increasing intelligence, meliorating memory, and cultivating a strong sense of concentration.


A scientific study conducted at Northwestern University corroborates the correlation between heightened responses in the way the nervous system processes sounds and the learning of a new language. By tracing the brainwaves of students who speak more than one language with those of students who speak one language, the researchers discovered that the bilingual group were far superior at tuning in to important information, while blocking out distracting noises. The process of learning a language is liberating.

Think of it has a mental deadlift or your mind getting stronger after an hour on the stairmaster. Like any workout regimen, it takes time to truly master, however the process alone teaches you discipline and determination, while keeping your mind sharp. Opening yourself to different languages is exposing yourself to books in original translation, to metaphors and rich cultural stories, to seeing the world through a different frame, all it takes is a few simple tricks.

Learn at least three words a day, preferably from a list of 100 most commonly used words. These words are said to comprise of at least half of the words used in everyday conversation. By studying a list of “100 core words” of your language of interest, you will find a myriad of online lessons, word lists, and tools to get you going.  This simple practice can make you proficient in reading in less than a year. Set a definitive number of words you would like to master a day to reach your maximum potential- at three words per day, you can finish the list in a minimum of three months.

Use the tools on your phone for an easy and convenient introduction. It is often said that there is an application for everything- including language learning and translation guides. Translation apps such as Google Translate can offer an excellent way of searching for particular words you may use in day to day conversation. The free phone app, Duolinguo is a great way to begin learning a new language through a step by step program, consisting of games and set goals to keep you motivated. You can also change the language settings on your phone or computer browser to learn new words right away.

Read Interesting Articles and Watch Movies in Foreign Languages. By seeking out articles catered to your own personal interests, you are more likely to remember certain trigger words and expand upon your vocabulary and comprehension skills. Similarly, watching a movie in a foreign language with subtitles can help you broaden your scope of language learning with exposure to accents, slang words, and the occasional swear words. Watch the same film multiple times and once you feel you have mastered it with subtitles, focus on the internal dialogue in the new language. Eventually switch the subtitles to your target language, and practice speaking lines along with the actors.

Keep a journal solely in the language you are learning. The act of journaling or writing letters in the new language will push your brain to begin thinking in that language. Writing is very helpful when first exploring the introductory steps of a foreign language. It allows you to express yourself and practice formulating sentences you will later use in conversation.

Find a partner to have casual conversations with. Languages are all around us, all you have got to do is pay attention. So you’re learning Italian and your Uber driver happens to mention that he is from Napoli. You are starting to master French and decide pick up pastries from the French bakery on the street corner. Your best friend’s grandmother is fluent in Farsi. Take advantage of these opportunities to practice and implement what you have been studying. Chances are that they will find your little slip-ups and mistakes endearing, just go with it!

Leave your comfort zone and do not be afraid to make mistakes. While practice makes perfect, learning a new language is intimidating and practicing out loud may be uncomfortable at first. Although you may feel like a toddler who is struggling to string together a simple series of words, overcoming fears of speaking the language you’re studying is crucial. By inviting a new language into your life, you convince your brain of its value and are more likely to remember it.


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