Science makes the world go round, and language learning is no exception. We’re always looking to pull back the curtain and explore the magic behind successful, effective language-learning. A recent article published by The Guardian explains why motivation is key when learning a new language, and why wanting to learn is so important. If you’re in a summer slump or simply looking to up the ante on your language-learning ambitions, we've gathered up five scientifically proven methods to increase motivation and enjoy more language-learning success. On your mark, get set, go: here’s your formula for achieving language-learning success.
1. Fall in love.
Love conquers all – even learning a new language. Interpret this advice however you’d like: fall in love with a native speaker of another language, or simply expose yourself to elements of your chosen language’s culture that are sure to land you head over heels. Are you a foodie? Foreign cuisine is a great way to gain motivation – after all, you need to learn the proper way to order those delicious new dishes, STAT. Tailor your learning to your favorite indulgences, and the language-learning sparks will be flying in no time.
2. Keep things interesting.
This one’s crucial. Research shows that learners must have an affinity for learning a new language, and their motivation level can fluctuate based on how interested and engaged they are in the learning process. Moral of the story: this is your language-learning experience, and you should do it your way. Pick a learning plan that makes sense for your personality, learning style, and goals. If you’re more of a movie nerd than a bookworm, use interactive programs like Mango Premiere ® to strengthen your motivation and learn through films. Too busy to watch a movie? Keep your language-learning game strong with portable audio programs like Mango On the Go ™ so you can listen and learn on your daily commute, during business travel (even international!), or simply drifting off to sleep at the end of a long day. Customizing your language learning to your personal lifestyle keeps motivation fresh and fun – and having fun is what it is all about.
3. Passion trumps logic.
For us, this is old news. Mangos are a passionate fruit, and often, it’s what keeps us motivated. Combine that passion with the right dose of logic and practicality, and you've got the recipe for success. Research shows that practical reasons for learning a language, like pursuing a promotion or studying for an exam, are less successful than personal, emotionally-driven motivations like preparing for an exciting trip, communicating with a loved one, or reconnecting with your roots. So, power up that passion and make sure your language-learning endeavors are as passionate as they are practical.
4. Motivation is contagious.
Motivation is contagious and, thankfully, there is no cure. Thanks to research from Professor Zoltán Dörnyei of Nottingham University, we can now reasonably demand that our friends, family, and colleagues be our conversation partners because, you know, science. And there’s no arguing with science. His research found that your conversation partner can have a profound impact on your language-learning success. Pick an engaging, interesting partner, and experience higher success. Team up with a disinterested, monotonous partner, and your motivation is likely to take a hit. So, survey your friends (or, pick us! We’re always engaged!) and partner up with a lively, language-loving cohort for ultimate success.
5. Imagine your bright future.
Embrace the power of your imagination. Studies now show that a successful learner will have the ability to imagine where their language learning will take them. Take time to consider what your ultimate language goals are, and the steps you’ll need to take to achieve them. Let your imagination run wild: global travels, romantic encounters, mission trips – anything is possible when you learn a new language. Match your vision up with a like-minded instructor or language-learning resource that provides ongoing support to help you achieve your goals. Dream big, and you’ll get big results – it's science.
Does that make all language lovers scientists? We think so.