Want to learn a foreign language but you’re not sure where to start? It may help to understand a little bit about the brain. The experts at Regina Coeli offer interesting insights into the best learning strategies for our brains.

Does learning a foreign language seem like a daunting task to you? Then it can help to deepen your understanding of how your brain works so that you can take this into account when learning another language, such as Dutch. Building up your training programme in another language works just like building up muscle or endurance in a fitness centre to achieve your fitness goal.

When you are learning a language, numerous neural networks are active in your brain and new connections are formed at lightning speed. You learn most quickly and effectively when you use your brain’s pre-existing networks. This is the best way to remember words and grammatical rules and you can apply them more easily.

Activate your brain in three simple waysYou can activate your brain for optimum language-learning by doing the following things:

Spot the connections between your mother tongue and the new language: This is how you form strong connections in your brain. There are many cognates, for example, which are words which sound almost the same in different languages. By focusing on these words, you can recognise large parts of texts. The more connections you see between your mother tongue and the new language, the easier it becomes to forge new connections in pre-existing networks in your brain. Activate your current knowledge of the new language: You often know more about a language than you think. By bringing that knowledge to the foreground, you activate your brain and learn more easily. Build specific vocabulary which fits your world: Everyone uses different words, depending on their profession, age, or character. By building your vocabulary thematically, you also reinforce the neural networks in your brain. Keep your brain fitSo, your brain is fully at work learning another language; for this, it has to be in tip-top shape. There is no point in studying endlessly for hours in a row. What the brain does need is:

Exercise to supply it with oxygen Healthy food A good night’s sleep for processing information and strengthening newly-built networks A challenge A good balance between effort and relaxation A stress-free environment To enjoy the learning process Language learning is good for your brainYou may already be aware that learning new things is good for your brain. Your brain makes new connections as you learn, so by continuing to learn, you keep your brain in top condition. And learning a language has an even stronger effect – people who are bilingual have exceptionally efficient brains. Because brain connections are so strong in people who speak more than one language, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, for example, decreases. Now that’s worth learning a language for!

Do you want to give your brain the gift of a good learning experience and do you really want to learn Dutch well? Then book a language course at Language Institute Regina Coeli!


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