Mindfulness for language learners

Anybody who has ever attempted to learn a second language will tell you that it is not easy. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Even if you immerse yourself in the second language, you will still find it incredibly difficult to pick up the nuances of the language. As a result, there are many people out there who are looking for new techniques in which to boost ‘new language acquisition’. One of the most beneficial of these is mindfulness, and that is what we are going to take a little look at on this page.

Now, we are not going to talk too much about what mindfulness actually is. There is plenty of information out there. Instead, we are going to get into the role that mindfulness plays when it comes to second language acquisition.

First and foremost; language acquisition is, by and large, all based on the memorization of words. Sure, there are a few additional things here and there e.g. grammar, but if you can start by memorizing the words that you need to know, you are already most of the way there. Mindfulness is well-known for its ability to help a person retain information that they learn. Back when I was learning a second language, it was drastically difficult for me to take on board even the simplest of words. Studies have shown that you need to be shown a fact up to seven times before you remember it. With mindfulness, you can be exposed to a word fewer times before it starts to be ingrained into your memory.

It is not just about learning the words though. Oh no. If you wish to properly acquire a language, you need to get that rhythm down to a tee. Take Swedish, for example, the rhythm of this language is completely different to English. Swedish people, almost, sound as though they are ‘singing’ when they talk. If you try and speak Swedish the way an English person speaks, it wouldn’t sound good at all. Mindfulness will help you to focus on the rhythm of these words and, ultimately, you will be a far better speaker.

In addition to this, mindfulness can help you to focus for longer periods of time. If you are going to be learning a language, then you need to put the work in to learn it. You can’t just focus for a few minutes a day. It would take decades to learn a language to even basic conversational standard. If you wish to succeed, you need a good few hours a day. The problem is; most people can’t concentrate for long periods of time. Thankfully, mindfulness can help. Those who practise mindfulness on a regular basis find that they are able to study with fewer distractions. The longer you study, and the more you focus, the more information you will be taking ‘on board’.

So, ultimately, practising mindfulness will greatly increase your chances of successful language acquisition. You will take in words quicker, you will be able to study for long periods of time, and you will even get the sound of the language right. Basically, you will be learning the language incredibly quickly.

Mindfulness for language learners

1 Comments

  1. Sabrina

    Hi Evelyn,

    I found your take on mindfulness and pronunciation to be a really helpful point. If we can listen mindfully, we can hear more of the tones and rhythms of the foreign language we’re working on. And then when we work on speaking another language (mindfully) we can notice the pauses and rhythms WE use – or don’t use.

    As an English teacher I use some meditation and mindfulness in my classes. I’m going to share these ideas about pronunciation and mindfulness with my students.

    What languages are you learning/ or have you learned in this way?

    Sabrina

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