Learning a new language is an inherently scary idea. Thousands of unfamiliar words, an entirely different grammatical structure and the high potential for embarrassment are enough to intimidate many of us. With a busy work life, finding the time to commit to a new language can be a challenge in itself.
But experts agree that it’s more than possible to make meaningful progress in just one hour a day. Not only that, the skills gained from practicing a new language can feel like superpowers in the workplace and beyond, according to a BBC.com feature.
Depending on your native tongue and which new language you’re learning, you can develop a diverse toolkit of both short-term and lifelong cognitive benefits. Of course, the further apart the language the tougher the challenge (think Dutch and Vietnamese), but focusing on a specific application can drastically narrow the practice time.
Learning the basics of any language is a quick task. Programmes like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone can guide you through a few greetings and simple phrases at lightning speed. For a more personal experience, polyglot Timothy Doner recommends reading and watching material that you already have an interest in.
“If you like cooking, buy a cookbook in a foreign language; if you like soccer, try watching a foreign game,” he says. “Even if you’re only picking up a handful of words per day - and the vast majority continue to sound like gibberish - they will be easier to recall later on.”
Also, devote at least half of your hour to stepping away from the books and videos to practice with a native speaker face to face.
Image credit: BBC