Student Post: Advice For The New Language Learner

*The below is from GLN student Seythe McCoy.


How hard is it to learn Arabic?  I don’t know! I am still taking my first foreigner level course at the GLN.  I can say, now that I am half way through, learning Arabic has been a really great experience. The importance of intonations and lack of vowels in verbs makes it difficult to initially, but once I got it, I began to truly appreciate such a beautiful and polite language. I mean, I have learned about 4 ways to greet someone, and they are ALL used in a single encounter!

Isn’t that the way with all challenges, though? At first glance, it seems as if you’re trying to stare down a thousand-year-old mountain, but once the rules are broken down and you truly begin to learn about the culture, the climb becomes leisurely!  So while I still have a long way to go and so much more to learn, the difference is that I celebrate the moments of clarity, and work to only comprehend (not master) the lesson of the week. In this practice, I am now able to enjoy the journey and not worry so much about when I’ll reach the peak.

If I had any advice for the new language learner, it would be:

  1. Come to class with a serious appetite for wanting to learn as much as you can that day
  2. If possible, go over the lessons from the previous week for 15 minutes a day
  3. Initially, seek comprehension, not mastery
  4. Enjoy the language you have chosen to learn. You are not only memorizing new vocabulary, but you are also learning a culture. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher questions about other subjects like food and music.  These topics could shed some light on common (and not so common) language applications. There are always experiences that only a native speaker would know!


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