Tag: language learning motivations

How to learn a language with a full-time job by The Intrepid Guide

 

Travel and Language Learning with The Intrepid Guide

Learning a language with a full-time job can be challenging, but travel and language blogger and author, The Intrepid Guide, gives us her top 10 professional tips on how this can be achieved. You can also read her blog post How to Learn a Language with a Full-Time Job.

Michele is a multilingual author and the founder of The Intrepid Guide, a hub for travellers and language learners with over 100,000 monthly readers. Follow Cactus Language and The Intrepid Guide on Instagram. The Intrepid Guide also offers her insight into the Cactus Evening Language Courses with 7 Things You Should Know Before Your First Language Class.

Contact Us

To find out more about learning another language, or information on any of our courses simply call us on 01273 830 960 or email us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:

Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French

Why Learning Difficult Languages is a Good Idea

learning difficult languages

 

Learning Difficult Languages: Why We Should

by Monica Cherrie

All of us working at the Cactus Language head office in Brighton have two things in common: we are all multi-lingual and we are all passionate about languages. This means during the working day we often discuss the various ways in which people communicate throughout the world. Today, we talked about the concept of learning difficult languages, if such a thing exists and what to do about it.

The idea of some languages being ‘difficult’ to learn often arises when people speak about the prospect of learning another language. Here at Cactus, we refute the idea of ‘difficult’ languages. This is primarily because ‘difficult’ is subjective and ‘difficult’ is a negative perspective that prevents people from doing the things they want to do.

What Makes a Language ‘Difficult’?

Of course we absolutely don’t mean to say that everyone will find all the languages on this planet easy to learn. There will always be a combination of factors that affect your ability and ease to learn a certain language; your first language or native tongue, your previous language learning experience, whether you already speak other languages, what country you live in, and how exposed you are to other languages. These are just a few of the factors.

Whatever language you choose to learn it takes time, hard work and dedication to become a competent speaker. There are no quick routes to learning a language, despite what people may tell you. At Cactus we believe the most important factor in language learning success is your intrinsic motivation, attitude and mind set, and this is not defined by the language you choose, but the way in which you approach learning it.

What Motivates You, Moves You

Sometimes, people opt to learn a language they have heard is easier to learn than the one they really want to learn, simply because they are so put off by the ‘difficult’ barrier. This is counterintuitive, as a language you are excited by will always be easier to learn. If you have your reasons for learning a language clear in your mind, if you are attracted by the people, music, cultures and country/countries of that language, your journey will be so much clearer, whatever language you have chosen. Even if you have opted for a notoriously ‘difficult’ language, like Arabic, you will find the energy to put the work in and achieve the language learning goals you dream of, if you have a strong intrinsic motivation to learn the language.

If you want to learn a so-called ‘difficult’ language, don’t let negative thoughts scare you out of experiencing it for yourself. It will probably be difficult at some point, but no matter whether you’re studying an ‘easy’ language or a ‘hard’ one, there are always difficult moments. Remember: difficulty is subjective.

If Other People Can, So Can You

One of our students, a native speaker of English, loves learning Japanese but does not like learning Spanish. She says it was difficult for her to learn all the verb conjugations in Spanish but hiragana, katakana, kanji were no problem. She also took a class on Keigo, and has visited Japan multiple times already. She currently speaks Japanese to a B1 level and is well on her way to becoming a very competent communicator in Japanese.

Before thinking about the difficulty of the language, think inwards and reflect on yourself – how do you feel when you hear people speaking this language? Is there something about the culture that excites you? If you are enticed by the language then you will find the motivation to keep learning. If other people can do it, so can you!

How to Book a Language Course?

Please check our How to Book page for more information on the simple secure and easy online booking process.

For information on any of our classes, please call us on +44 (0) 1273 830 960 or contact us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any question you may have.

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Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:

Evening language courses: 19 different languages online and in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world

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How to Learn a Language

How to learn a language

 

How to Learn a Language

Learning a new language can seem a daunting task – involving a fair amount of time, dedication and brain gymnastics. However, there are a number of key pieces of advice that can make your language learning journey both easier, faster and more enjoyable.

1. Love Your New Language

Whichever language you choose to learn you will be at a great advantage if you also have a genuine interest in the people, culture, food, art, music, places of the language you are learning. If you have a sincere desire to discover more about the places where the language is spoken you will find your language learning journey is more enjoyable.

2. Know Your Motivation

Be clear with yourself about why you are learning the language. It could be for career progression, moving abroad, travel, love, or just to keep your brain active. Whatever you reason you need to have remind yourself of how learning a language is going to make your life better.

3. Speak from the Start

It’s important that you try and speak from the beginning. Try to copy and imitate native speaker examples of the language – you will need to use your speaking apparatus (lungs, glottis, larynx, tongue, lips, jaw) in ways that you have not done before. The sooner you start practising formulating the different sounds the more natural it will feel and the faster you will progress.

4. Leave Your Pride at Home

Learning a language for some people can produce varying degrees of anxiety and embarrassment. More often than not these feelings are attached to a sense pride and not wanting to make mistakes in front of others. Making mistakes is an essential and integral part of learning a language. If you are not making mistakes you are not progressing. Forget yourself and focus on the message you are trying to communicate – no one else cares if you make a mistake when speaking another language.

5. Forget Direct Translations

Often when learning a new language people try to apply direct translations from their own language to the new language. You must let go of this and focus on learning expressions and chunks of language and understand the message or meaning they carry. Trying to dissect each and every sentence piece by piece in an attempt to find the equivalent in your own language will not always give you the results or understanding you are seeking. The word order and grammar of languages vary – often there is no direct translation.

5. Learn New Language in Context

Whenever you are learning a new vocabulary item, grammar structure or expression, ensure you are learning it ‘in context’. This means you have context for when the language is being used – what situation is the language used in real life, what language usually comes before or after the new language in conversation or in written format. Language needs to be learnt in context for it to be memorable and useful.

6. Learn What You Need

When learning a language it is important to focus on learning the vocabulary and structures that you are actually going to use. For example, if you are learning Spanish to facilitate travelling around South America you need to know how to give directions to a cab driver, shop in a market, buy bus tickets, and make small talk with the locals. Or, if you are learning Arabic to translate academic documents you need to focus on reading and writing in Modern Standard Arabic. Your specific needs will determine the type of learning you do.

 

ONLINE LANGUAGE COURSES

 

Contact Us about Learning a Language

For more information on any of our courses, or just general advice on learning a language online, please call us on 01273 830 960 or contact us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:

Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Online language courses: over 20 languages
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world

The Wedding Season: Love and Language

learning your partner's language

 

The Pros and Cons of Learning your Partner’s Language

Summer in the UK means a couple of things: Pimms, cricket, rain and lots of weddings. If you, like many of our evening course language learners, have a partner whose first language you do not share, you may want to consider both the pros and cons of learning their language.

1. The Family

Not knowing your partner’s first language may mean that you are unable to communicate with their parents and family. This can be either a pro or a con depending on whether you like the family or not. Gestures and sign language can always be resorted to in an emergency, however, it is preferable that you are able to at the very minimum exchange pleasantries with the family members of your better half.

2. Secrets

When you cannot speak the mother tongue of your partner you are often left wondering what exactly your partner is saying when they are speaking to friends and family in the other language. Even if you implicitly trust your partner it is natural to wonder – what is he/she saying? Is he/she saying nice things about me? Conversely, if you’re partner does not speak your first language it’s much easier to keep that surprise birthday party a surprise.

3. Culture

Learning a language also involves learning about the culture of the language – and the culture of your partner. Learning about your partner in this way will be appreciated by your partner and not only that, you are likely to come to a greater understanding of your partner and where they come from.

4. Feelings

People often feel the urge to use their mother tongue when it comes to emotional or sensitive situations. At this point communication can break down when two people do not share the same first language. By learning your partner’s first language you will have a higher level of intimacy and empathy with your partner.

5. Options

When you speak the language of your partner your options of where you can live and work together greatly increase. This will give you both flexibility with regards to your careers, travel, visas and starting a family. Generally speaking, the more options you have as a couple to be happy together the better!

Contact Us

Cactus language offers immersion language courses and private tuition across the world, and evening language courses in the UK. To book any of our courses please call us on 01273 830 960 or email us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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Cactus language offers the following types of language courses:

Evening language courses: 19 different languages in 15 UK locations
Language holidays: worldwide immersion courses in the country of the language
Private tuition: tailor-made and corporate language training solutions throughout the world
TEFL: teacher training courses for both English and other languages all over the world
Online courses: for teacher training, English and French

 

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