The reality is that to learn a new language is not easy. I can attest to that in my stay in London. Not always is easy to understand the native people, some accents are more difficult than others (eg the famous Scottish accent), some slangs and some idioms. And it is very difficult to understand 100%. Remember you don’t have to understand every word to get the gist. In fact, I found very hard to understand British accent at the beggining of my stay in London and any simple task was a real challenge for me. But the trick is to “to keep calm and carry on”. Don’t try to learn everything at once. Set clear and realistic targets and go at your own pace. Little by little I can do more complex tasks in English that are a big achievement.
Language is an arbitrary system of sounds and symbols which is used for many purposes. Everybody knows that languages differ from each other in their sounds, grammar, vocabulary, and patterns of discourse. For example there are 5 vowels in the English alphabet – A E I O U – but there are more than five vowel sounds in spoken English. Each vowel has a long sound and a short sound. There is also the schwa vowel sound which doesn´t exist in our alphabet. The pronutation of the words are easier for native or people who adquire their second language as a child than for adult-learners. Please, find attached the photo I took in the science museum. Scientists show how we use our brain when we learn a second language. One part of the brain is different if you learn a language before you are nine years-old.
All languages are highly complex entities. I would like to point out that to learn a language is like to be a bit juggler. A mixture of five skills that you have to control: listening, understanding, talking, writing and reading. The easiest for me undoubtledly is reading. The field where I find more difficulty is speaking. But It is good to bear in mind that most people never achieve a perfect accent in another language. In fact, I listen often accents from other countries. It is not weird to listen Chinesse accent, Indian accent, South-America accent, Scottish accent, French accent, Spanish accent… As I wrote in my first blog London is a multicultural city so the accent does not matter as long as people understand.
My main triumph has been to start to loose fear of speaking English, and to win the English battle in some way. The most I enjoy is to surf the Internet. Now I can read and listen Spanish as well as English. I have the bbc app, the youtube app, the spotify app and Spanish and British newspapers apps in my smartphone so I get access to much more information. Also if you speak English, you can travel (for example to London) and comunicate easily with others.
Certainly, revise what you have learnt and review your progress regularly is a good source of motivation. I like to do that during my stay in UK and I recommend it. Definetly, dominate English language is something not easy but for sure worth the effort!