Picking up a new language is not really that easy, but knowing more about the science of learning languages may help you speed up the learning progress. Belle Beth Cooper has shared her views on Crew Blog:
学一门语言并非易事，不过多了解学外语的科学或许会进步更快。Belle Beth Cooper在Crew博客上分享了她的观点。
How we learn language
Learning language is something we’re born to do. As children, we learn to think, learn to communicate and intuitively pick up an understanding of grammar rules in our mother tongue, or native language. From then on, we learn all new languages in relation to the one we first knew—the one that we used to understand the world around us for the first time ever.
8654a cm金沙误乐 学习语言是人类与生俱来的行为。从孩提时起，我们就学习思考、学习交流，并且本能地掌握母语或本族语的语法。从那时起，我们便学习跟初识有关的任何新语言——正是凭着初识，我们才懂得周围的世界。
Learning a foreign language
When it comes to learning a second language, adults are at a disadvantage. As we age, our brain’s plasticity (its ability to create new neurons and synapses) is reduced. Following brain damage that causes a loss of speech, for instance, researchers have observed that children are more likely to regain the power of speech, by creating new pathways in the brain to replace the damaged ones.
There’s still hope, though. A study of secondary language pronunciation found that some learners who started as adults scored as well as native speakers. It’s also been shown that motivation to learn can improve proficiency, so if you really want to learn a language, it’s not necessarily too late.
Give yourself the best chance
If you want to put in the effort to learn a new language, try these methods that are known for improving learning and memory.
1. Spaced repetition
Spaced repetition is a proven memory technique that helps you keep what you’ve learned strong in your mind. The way it works is you revise each word or phrase you’ve learned in spaced intervals. Initially the intervals will be smaller: you might revise a new word a few times in one practice session, and then again the next day. Once you know it well you’ll be able to leave days or weeks between revisions without forgetting it.
8654a cm金沙误乐 “间隔重复”是很有效的记忆技巧，有助于将学过的知识牢牢记在大脑里。具体方法就是：每隔一段时间就复习学过的每个单词或词组。刚开始间隔时间比较短：你可能需要在某个练习阶段复习好几次生词，然后第二天再重复。一旦熟悉以后，你可以几天或者几个星期再复习一下，这样依旧可以记得清清楚楚。
2. Learn before you sleep
One of the many benefits we get from sleep is that it helps to clear out the brain’s “inbox” – the temporary storage of new information and memories from our time awake. We need sleep (even just a nap) to move anything we’ve recently learned into our brain’s long term storage. Once it’s safely stored, spaced repetition will help to strengthen the connection so we can recall the information faster and more accurately.
3. Study content, not the language
Although most language learning classes and progams focus on purely learning the language, a study of high school students studying French found that when they studied another subject taught in French instead of a class purely to teach French, the students tested better for listening and were more motivated to learn. Students in the standard French class scored better on reading and writing tests, so both methods clearly have merit.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of a new language, try including some content on a topic you’re interested in to improve your understanding. You could have conversations with friends learning the same language, read articles online or listen to a podcast to test your comprehension.
8654a cm金沙误乐 当你掌握某个语言的基本知识后，请尝试了解自己关心的话题内容，这样可以提高理解能力。你可以跟学这门语言的同伴交谈，阅读网络文章，或者通过听播客来测试自己的理解力。
4. Practice a little everyday
If you’re busy, you might be tempted to put off your studying and cram in a big chunk of learning once every week or two. However, studying a little every day is actually more effective. Because your brain’s “inbox” has limited space and only sleep can clear it out, you’ll hit the limit of how much you can take in pretty quickly if you study for hours at a time.
5. Mix new and old
The brain craves novelty but attempting to learn lots of new words or phrases at once can be overwhelming. Novel concepts work best when they’re mixed in with familiar information.
When you add new words to your vocabulary, try spacing them in-between words you’re already familiar with so they’ll stand out—your brain will latch onto them more easily.