Most people who learn a second language dream to speak it as fluently as a native speaker. Unfortunately, it can’t happen easily. But the good news is that you can start speaking foreign languages with 95% accuracy. Though this requires a lot of time and effort. Bilingualism is the knowledge of two languages on the native speaker’s level.
There are many classifications of bilingualism. One of them is according to the age and the way of learning the language. Bilingualism can be natural and acquired. Natural bilingualism occurs when the child absorbs two languages from his or her birth. For example, mom is German and dad is Japanese. They speak different languages with their child. As a result their baby will be bilingual. There is another example, when the parents speak one language but they want their child to be bilingual. Then they hire a foreign nanny or governor who regularly communicates with the child and spends a lot of time with them.
Acquired bilingualism is the acquisition of a second language at the native level at a later age. For example, the person was born and raised in Russia, but when he became 10, his family moved to the US. As the child starts living in an American environment, he absorbs the language and communicates with the native speakers. He learns English not in courses, but directly in everyday life, culture and becomes bilingual because he can use alternately Russian and English. The main differences between the acquired bilingualism and the simple study of foreign languages: mastery through culture, socialization, and absorption of the language from native speakers.
Bilingualism can develop in the process of learning foreign languages if you not only study the language at school or attend learning courses but also regularly travel to the country of your target language, where you can communicate with its native speakers, use your skills in practice, watch many movies and TV shows in this language and absorb its culture. Besides, you can use a language learning app like Encore from gurmentor.com to practice anytime and whenever you have a free minute. But even if you do all these things, to react to the certain life situation as a native speaker and sound authentic, it will take a rather long time.
According to the research, bilingualism in children’s lives is a positive phenomenon. Bilingual children are more skillful if we talk about interaction, flexibility of thinking and understanding of the structure of language. Abstract thinking in bilinguals develops earlier, faster, and better than in monolinguals. Bilinguals are used to switching from one language to another that is why it is easier for them to direct their attention. It is also a great exercise for the brain. This way bilinguals help it stay in shape and delay dementia Alzheimer’s disease. Another benefit of bilingualism is the opportunities that you get in your career. It is not a secret that most employers want to see intelligent people in their team who can speak two and more languages. For the employee it is almost a guarantee of having a stable, well paid job.
Many people, while learning a certain language without achieving good results, do not realize that often the reason behind this is the absence of a specific goal. For example, you need to know English because you want to apply for work in an international company – that’s the goal. But if you learn the language because you just want to or even worse if someone forces you – it might not last long. Of course, there is a chance that the person can reach the finish and learn the language with just the love for it, but it doesn’t work for everyone. If you want to start speaking foreign languages you have to find a motivation for yourself. There are so many variants: the opportunity to communicate with the native speakers in other countries, meeting interesting people, reading books and watching movies in the original, traveling, etc.
Another problem is boring educational program. Even with a strong love for the language and a clear goal, all the desire to learn it can disappear because of the incorrectly constructed program. If you are an adult, it doesn’t mean that you need only boring books with black and white font. Of course, it is easier to force an adult to perceive information presented in a more complex form, but why deliberately complicate the learning process? Just as in childhood, everything is perceived better if accompanied by visual images and presented in a lighter form, perhaps even playful.
The atmosphere is an inevitable part of learning foreign languages. When you are moving on to the next topic, you realize that even repeating the words and phrases from the previous ones, you still gradually forget them. The reason is that language learning is not math. You can’t just remember that two by two makes four. And now think of your childhood when you couldn’t speak at all. Everything was said and written in the language you were supposed to start speaking. The same you should do with your target language. Try to watch movies, TV shows, and cartoons in the language that you’re learning, read books and journals, listen to the radio and songs. The more you immerse yourself with this new culture, the sooner and easier you will get used to it.
The next important thing is practice. After some time of learning a foreign language, many people can understand spoken and written languages well, but as soon as they are asked to say something, they feel like they don’t know anything and can’t even say a word. Why does this happen? If you don’t practice in your target language, you do not acquire the necessary skills, and as a result, you write and listen better than you speak. If you don’t have an opportunity to practice your skills with the native speaker or teacher, you should try to conduct monologues alone, or imagine the interlocutor. It may look strange from the beginning, but if you forget about how embarrassing it is, you will see how your speech can develop this way.