• Learning a language challenges your mind and time. Your brain has to construct new frameworks and pictures for it to understand.
• The internet has many apps and articles on how to learn different languages. You can make use of your gadgets and Google to learn.
You were born and taught a certain language to understand what people are talking about and how to communicate.
Over time, you realise there are many other languages and that you want to learn a few different languages, just to make communication easier.
But why is it challenging to learn or understand a different language from what you are used to?
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has been addressing Kenyans in different languages for a while now.
He addressed the public in Luo and Somali a few days ago.
Taking to twitter, he shared a video of himself addressing the public in Somali. His message was: "My dear brothers and sisters who speak the SOMALI language. Are you tired of an UNFAIR KENYA? Are you tired of unemployment and BIASED distribution of wealth? Are you tired of being forgotten and your rights ignored? Please watch & retweet my KiSomali truths. You deserve better."
This came as a surprise to many people with others recommending him for trying to speak the language fluently.
But how long did it take him to learn the language? He might be a fast learner or maybe it took him a while, but he still learnt the language and communicated.
Why are languages not easy to learn?
Learning a language challenges your mind and time. Your brain has to construct new frameworks and pictures for it to understand. As for time, you spend a lot of it concentrating or rather investing in learning the language and before you know, you have spent hours or even days and weeks before you are fluent in the particular language.
Does it have to be so hard?
Yes and No... depending on how fast you are to learning something. Remember that this is a language you are not used to and just trying to learn how to communicate with someone who speaks that language fluently.
Lisa is 25 and has been to many countries. Her parents are often sent on assignments in various countries, so she is most of the time travelling.
"My family lived in Germany for four years and it was not a debate that I had to learn German. It was so hard because I was used to speaking in Swahili, English and my mother tongue," Lisa said.
For a while, she was made fun of because she lacked German speaking skills. But she didn't mind what was said about her.
"I had to get used to it and concentrate on learning to be a fluent German speaker for people to understand me."
Lisa became a better German speaker with time. "I had to be careful how I pronounced words so that I do not insult anyone, she says.
As for Ahmed, learning a new language was not so much of a hustle. He is a fast learner.
"When my dad was posted to a different country (I prefer to not say which country we were moved to), my family had to take French classes because the country is a French speaking country and my dad was going to work in there for a few years," Ahmed said.
As the oldest child, he had to learn French fast so that he could help his siblings learn the language quickly.
"My parents left me with the responsibility of helping my two brothers and one sister to learn French as fast as possible. It was challenging but I thank God I'm a fast learner and my friends also helped out," he said.
Languages are different to learn for most people because of the pronunciations and also the tones of words.
So how can you make it easy to learn a different language?
Why not try audios online?
The internet has many apps and articles on how to learn different languages. You can make use of your gadgets and Google to learn.
Take some classes
Schools are shut in many countries due to Covid-19 pandemic. Try and look for online classes and enroll in one or two. Make use of the online classes and you just might be better than the person who speaks the particular language.
This might be hard for some people but making friends with people who speak different languages can help you know the language of your choice. Ask your friend to spare some time and teach you a thing or two about his/her language. You will be surprised how much you can grasp in a short time.
So what is stopping you from learning a new language? Try and challenge yourself and learn one or two languages.
You just never know where you will find yourself.
- mwaniki fm