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(来源:英语学习门户网站EnglishCN.com)

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
  人们学习语言的方式
  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.
  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
  学习一门外语
  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.
  说到学习第二语言,成人总是处于不利地位。随着年龄增长,人类大脑的可塑性就会衰退,而这种可塑性却能产生新的神经元与突触。紧接着大脑损伤便会造成语言能力的丧失。比如,研究人员已经发现,通过新陈代谢取代大脑受损细胞,儿童更容易重新获得语言能力。
  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.
  当然希望还是有的。一项有关第二语言发音的研究发现,有些成年学习者照样可以将外语学得很地道。而且,学习语言的动机能极大提高语言掌握的熟练度。所以,如果你真的特别想学某种语言,任何时候都不算晚。
  Give yourself the best chance
  给自己最好的机会
  If you want to put in the effort to learn a new language, try these methods that are known for improving learning and memory.
  如果你想努力学一门新语言,那就试试下面这些方法吧,这些方法可以在学习和记忆方面帮到你。
  1. Spaced repetition
  1. 间隔重复。
  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 practicesession, 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.
  “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
  2. 睡前学习。
  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.
  睡眠的一个好处就是它能清除大脑的“收件箱”——也就是我们在清醒时临时储存的新信息和记忆。我们需要睡眠(哪怕只是打盹)将最新学习的东西转换到大脑的长期储存中。一旦储存固定,“间隔重复”将强化之间的联系,这样我们便能更快更准确地记住信息了。
  3. Study content, not the language
  3. 学习语言内容,而非语言本身。
  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.
  尽管多数语言教学课程重点强调单纯学习语言本身,但一项有关高中生学法语的研究发现,如果学生学习某个用法语教学的课程,而非单纯的法语课,那么学生的法语听力成绩更出色,而且学生也更有动力去学。不过,标准法语班的学生在阅读和写作上的成绩更高。显然,两种方法各具优势吧。
  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 yourcomprehension.

 
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