So if you didn’t know, I majored in Linguistics when I was at university. I speak Vietnamese, studied Spanish, French, and Japanese. My fluency levels are in order from native to foreign, btw. I’m a Project Manager by day (wine enthusiast by night) at a translation agency. So I am always collaborating with people from different parts of the world. If you couldn’t already tell, I really enjoy all things linguistic and consider myself to be a descriptivist – yet I also wish people did proofread their work! And I think this plays into my thirst for adventure as it goes hand in hand with learning different languages.
One of my top tips is to always try speaking the native language a little and people will be more inclined to help out. If they see you making an effort, they’ll do the same (hopefully) and meet you half way. I am constantly suggesting language learners to practice with their native-speaking friends. For me, I practice my Spanish not only with my friends and coworkers, but the cleaning ladies at the office. They are just the sweetest! And don’t ever feel discouraged when they are correcting you. Embrace it! It’s for your own good and is the only way you will learn. The process is part of the fun and the progress is oh so worth it! So when it’s 2 AM and you’re ordering tacos after a night out, greet the person taking your order with “buenas noches!”
Because no matter that language you’re learning, no matter your fluency level, no matter your reason, it’s worth it. Being able to speak a second language is a gift that being monolingual can never have. It’s sort of like a second version of oneself, a second version to express oneself.