How I learned to speak 5 languages

Via Pinterest: Turkey
  • Pay attention to the way others express themselves: This has been very helpful to me. Body language is a kind of universal language that we hardly take advantage from. No matter where you are, there’s always some gestures you can recognize when someone says Hello, Wow!, What?, Oh shit, Welcome, Goodbye or when they get good news or they start a gossip or say they love you, to name some… Those are the keys to start learning because your mind starts to recognize some similar patterns when trying to understand and that’s very useful.
  • Check the constant expressions: Our brains store information by repetition. Every country has at least something everyone says, that you can save on your mind. For example in Turkey when you get to a new place, store, someone’s house you’ll usually hear Hoşgeldin (Hoshgaldin) which means, Welcome or literaly, is nice that you came. Or in Brazil is very common to hear, Saudade which is almost like feeling something is missing or used as I miss you/I miss this. You can also notice the typical expressions that people use in specific situations: To congratulate, to greet, to comfort, to express love, appreciation or gratitude. It’s a matter of paying attention.
  • Mistakes are your allies: Once you’ve noticed the usual expressions or the ways people say something you have to start trying them out. If you heard some expression from someone but you don’t know how it’s spelled or exactly what it means you can either look for the meaning on internet or just take the risk to say it on the same way others do, hoping for people to understand you. If they don’t, some will probably make fun of your accent or if you said something else instead. I remember once I tried explaining what a meme was while pronuncing it with my spanish accent and I didn’t realize that saying it like that meant nipple in Turkish, so all they were hearing was my nipple this, my nipple that… Of course people started laughing but since I did too, we actually became friends and now it’s a very funny story. What I mean here is that you have to learn to make fun of your mistakes as well, don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy while it’s funny to listen to you talking because later you’ll sound so much better.

Mistakes show you what is useful for you and what’s not, otherwise you wouldn’t know.

  • Get rid of fear: Abandon that part of you that feels afraid of mistaking. People enjoy when you actually try and if they don’t, that has more to do with whom they are rather than with what you do. When they notice that although they’ve been mocking you for a while you’re still able to leave them speechless with the way you’re improving your skills, they start taking you seriously and actually caring about what you have to say, instead of just looking for possible mistakes.
  • Practice: You do have to practice. Chooose your own way: through a book, though films, youtube videos, exercises, through awkward conversations with others, whatever you feel more comfortable with just do so. Practice is focusing on what you want to achieve, you cannot expect to be good at something if you haven’t completely put your mind on it.

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Lu Salgado

Lu Salgado

As I align with my most authentic self, I share my knowledge through my experiences along the way, using writing as a translator of my head.