When you learn a new language, it requires a lot of memory. You need to memorize vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and more. There are two memorization tricks I picked up when learning languages growing up. One was to associate the foreign word with something for you to remember. So in Italian, lo scoiattolo means squirrel. “Sc-“ already makes the beginning sound for squirrel, but the “-attolo” part sounds like “at a low” to me, and I see squirrels at low places usually, and that’s how I remember that word. This has helped me with SAT vocab and chemistry terms
Another is called spaced repetition system which is when you are presented the word a few times one day, then a few times a few days later, then a few weeks later with those same words. The purpose is to keep the words fresh in your mind always.
Improve Your Test Taking Skills
Standardized tests show that language learners excel in comparison to students of one language (Armstrong & Rogers 1997, Saunders 1998, Masciantonio 1977, Rafferty 1986, Andrade, Kretschmer & Kretschmer 1989).
Become More Extroverted
I’ve talked to a couple of people who are bilingual and not from being raised in a household that spoke another language, and when I ask how they became fluent in their second language, they always say “get a significant other whose first language isn’t yours” and apparently that’s really true! I love talking to my family in Mandarin, it really helps improve my pronunciation and expands my vocabulary. My brother is currently in Italy after a 6 week intensive language training and part of his job is to speak with locals every day! After a few months he could give a speech in Italian and could read at museums. Immersion really is key to language learning as well as being more social.
Get Your Creativity Booming
I grew up in a Mandarin/English speaking household. So I can speak in Mandarin SOMEWHAT. So I’ll be talking to my cousins who only speak Mandarin and I’ll need to say something that I don’t know how to say in Mandarin. So I didn’t know how to highway, so I’d have to say “The road where you drive really fast and it’s usually long and has exits” in Mandarin. Studies show that multilingual people are more creative than monolingual people, and maybe it’s because of this kind of thinking (Bamford & Mizokawa, 1991).
Learn to be Patient With People Who are Different
I just finished my sophomore year in college, and in my law class there are a few international students and one guy couldn’t quite understand our teacher with the vocabulary and speed we use, I think it’s understandable because I’ve had to have people explain things to me in a second language, and it’s really necessary to understand concepts and whatnot. So when the student asked the teacher over 10 questions in class, it did take away some time, but it cleared up some questions I’m sure the other students had, but there was this one group of guys who just snickered every time he asked a question. And I had no idea why it was funny that he didn’t understand the three branches (legislative, executive, judicial). I’m sure when those students go abroad and are confused that they’ll have a thousand questions. Patience is a virtue.
See Things from a New Perspective
Each country has phrases and words that don’t have an English translation, Buzzfeed has an awesome article on that (http://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/exquisite-pain#.lhDNlgLak LINK THIS ON ARTICLE). This will not only allow you to see things from a different point of view, but also allow for you to learn empathy. A notorious Polyglot, Tim Doner, has said how he wanted to learn Hebrew and Arabic in order to “better identify with those on either side of the conflicts in the Middle East (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km9-DiFaxpU&feature=youtu.be&t=380). Understanding someone’s language is a step towards understanding a culture- allowing you to peek into someone’s point of view.
Who knew there were more benefits than "just" being able to talk to people from other parts of the world! I'm so happy to be able to be bilingual and have the opportunity to learn languages. See if these are true for you by learning a second language through RoLa!