Ultimate Spelling For Education

Ultimate Spelling EDU is the world's most advanced spelling learning system for schools. With Ultimate Spelling, you have your spelling teaching requirements completely under control.

Based on proven science, Ultimate Spelling EDU contains all the features of Ultimate Spelling plus:

It's absolutely essential your students graduate with their spelling educational requirements met. With Ultimate Spelling EDU these spelling requirements are more than met. Students also improve academic performance, are prepared for standardized tests, and improve their confidence.

The next step is to see Ultimate Spelling for yourself. Simply fill out the form and we'll send you a free no obligation trial of the full version of Ultimate Spelling EDU.

The Science

Ultimate Spelling is scientifically designed, and utilizes principles based on decades of research in learning, retention, and psychology. Here is a summary of the theory and research behind Ultimate Spelling's effectiveness.

Craik, F., and Tulving, E. "Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory." Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol 104(3) (1975): 268-294. Print and PDF. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.104.3.268

In this seminal study performed at the University of Toronto, Canada, the authors performed a series of tests in which they gave the study participants a sequence of words to learn, with information related to each word as it appeared in order. They discovered that when the information provided stimulated the participant's brain to process the word on a more involved level (referred to as "deep encoding" or "degree of elaboration" in the study), that word was more effectively learned and remembered. With Ultimate Spelling, the user is given a wide range of additional information about each spelling word, including the word's definition - one of the key factors in enhanced memory, according to this study - as well as usage examples, synonyms, and antonyms.

Gelman, B.D., Gruber, M.J., and Ranganath, C. "States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit." Neuron, 22 October 2014, 84(2): 486-496. Web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.060

Students who are eager to learn are more likely to remember what they have learned, something that the authors of this study demonstrate. They used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show real-time connections between a person's curiosity about a specific topic, and the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and the brain's reward system. The authors also concluded that a higher level of interest and curiosity in a topic or question leads to better memory and enhanced learning. Including exercises that stimulate curiosity, and providing reward mechanisms as part of the study process, also increases a person's ability to absorb and retain information, as the researchers found. Ultimate Spelling has a text import feature that allows each user to include and incorporate practice material that matches their interests, while learning the spelling of words in those texts. The system also uses several different reward systems to encourage users to continue working towards their defined goals.

Garcia, S.M., Tor, A., and Schiff, T.M. "The Psychology of Competition: A Social Comparison Perspective." Perspectives on Psychological Science, November 2013, 8(6):634-650. Print and web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1745691613504114

Each person is influenced by a unique set of factors related to their own status and progress towards goals, but is also affected to a greater or lesser degree by the achievements and perceived standards of the people around them. This analysis of past and current studies looks at the way people view and are motivated by individual goals as well as societal achievement (competition). The authors conclude that effective use of motivational strategies must take both into account. This is something that Ultimate Spelling accomplishes by providing each user with the ability to set personal goals, earn reward points, and view their own progress tracking reports, and also to publish all of those results on public social media platforms.

Kivetz, R., Urminsky, O., and Zheng, Y. "The Goal-Gradient Hypothesis Resurrected: Purchase Acceleration, Illusionary Goal Progress, and Customer Retention." Journal of Marketing Research, February 2006, 43(1):39-58. Web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1509/jmkr.43.1.39

In a study focusing on the influence of reward-scheme programs on behavior, the authors found that when people see visible progress towards their goals they are more likely to increase the activity required to reach those goals. The study also confirms that most people are also motivated by receiving rewards for completing specific activities, even if those rewards are not immediately transferable to actual material or monetary benefits. Status points, rewards, and real-time progress tracking are all methods used in Ultimate Spelling to encourage frequent spelling practice by awarding points for the completion of exercises and activities. Because the user can access their progress charts at any time, they will always be able to see how close they are to achieving their personal spelling goals.

Buton, M., Winterbauer, N., and Todd, T. "Relapse processes after the extinction of instrumental learning: Renewal, resurgence, and reacquisition." Behavioural Processes, May 2012, 90(1): 130–141. Print and web. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2012.03.004

Instrumental learning, also called "operant conditioning," is a method by which behaviors are learned in connection with a stimulus, a reward, or both. In this research done at the University of Vermont, the authors studied the ways in which the information connected to a specific behavior is retained when the stimulus is removed, and how subsequent repetition or reward reinforces information recall and a resumption of previously learned behaviors. They conclude that there are two primary methods of reinforcing active memory and behavior: by creating a different way to test the subject's memory, and by providing the opportunity for intensive focused repetition of that stimulus-behavior response. These two methods are widely used in the Ultimate Spelling activities and games to create the link between instruction and memory that is so crucial in effective spelling learning on the student's part.

Xue, G., Mei, L., Chen, C., Lu, Z-L., Poldrack, R., Dong, Q. "Spaced Learning Enhances Subsequent Recognition Memory by Reducing Neural Repetition Suppression." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 2011;23(7):1624-1633. Print and web. http://doi:10.1162/jocn.2010.21532

In this study comparing long-term and short-term memory, the study authors tested the neural activity of participants as they memorized a set of images. Half of the study participants used massed learning techniques, in which each new image was presented multiple times in a row; the other half were given the images in a spaced repetition mode, where the images were shown in alternating order. Although each participant saw each image the same number of times, the people in the spaced-repetition exercise were able to accurately remember more images, and for a longer period of time. Repetition is a key technique in learning spelling, and Ultimate Spelling incorporates spaced repetition in two ways. First, the system uses randomized selection of spelling words from the user's current list to populate the activities and exercises, ensuring an interval between word reviews. Second, the system's Word Discover feature provides pop-up instant review of the words on that list, again in random order. By providing users with multiple opportunities throughout the day to read and review their words, Ultimate Spelling provides all of the benefits of the spaced repetition methodology in its spelling instruction.

Blocki, J., Cranor, L., Datta, A., and Komanduri, S. "Spaced Repetition and Mnemonics Enable Recall of Multiple Strong Passwords." Cornell University Library, January 3, 2015. PDF. http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.1490v2

Spaced repetition is a memory training tool that relies on frequent and consistent review of information; mnemonics is a memory technique that involves multiple ways of looking at that information, such as the incorporation of images or story lines. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University focused on the combination of spaced repetition and mnemonics in evaluating how best to train people to remember specific pieces of information: computer passwords. They found that by combining the two methodologies, the results in both ease of learning and retention were increased. Ultimate Spelling uses each method separately and together to help users learn and remember new spelling words by using the same words in multiple exercises, presenting spelling words in a variety of formats, and encouraging users to add information related to each word to make a personal connection that helps them to remember that word and its correct spelling.

Why Better Spellers Are Faster Readers




In this post, we talked about how increasing your reading speed can help you improve your spelling by exposing you to more words and giving you practice seeing those words used in context. Did you know that learning to spell correctly will help you become a better reader, too? When you learn the rules of spelling words in English, you’ll be able to apply them to the new words you come across when reading.

When you come across an unfamiliar word while you’re reading, it will slow you down. If you don’t know the meaning of the word, you’ll have to stop and look it up, or run the risk of losing an important piece of information in the text. However, if you’ve studied the rules of English spelling, you’ll be able to apply those rules to the new words you come across while you’re reading. One of the reasons for this is that words which have the same etymological roots – that is, their meanings are related – often have similar spelling patterns. Being able to identify these patterns can also give you clues about the definition of an unfamiliar word.

One of the ways that you can increase your reading speed is by eliminating subvocalization, the habit of saying words to yourself as you read, whether you say those words out loud, just move your lips as you read, or only “hear” the words in your head. One of the reasons that spelling practice helps to eliminate this habit is that when you know how a word is spelled, you’ll know how it’s pronounced. Subvocalization often occurs because you’re mentally trying to “sound out” a word you don’t know how to pronounce; when you recognize a word and know how it sounds already, you won’t unconsciously think you need to say it in order to read it.

If you combine speed-reading techniques with vocabulary improvement and spelling practice, these three learning tools will work together to increase your skills even faster than any one of them alone.

Master Spelling New Words With Ultimate Spelling Now!

When Good Vocabulary Is Not Enough





Which do you think is more important, good vocabulary or good spelling skills? Many teachers would tell you that the main objective for young learners is to expand their vocabulary so they can communicate efficiently and accurately with their peers.

A good vocabulary is key to being a competent speaker. Having the words for the thoughts, feelings, ideas and notions you want to communicate makes it easier for you to get heard, convince people to follow you, and get what you are after.

However, as many teachers would also tell you, good vocabulary is not enough. Having an extensive lexicon filled with impressive and obscure words doesn’t mean you are a competent language user overall. If your spelling skills are weak, then your written language output will more likely suffer too. What’s more, it will make you look bad.

Take an 8th grader’s essay. They might be using vocabulary that’s well above their grade level and that’s impressive and worthy of praise, but if that same essay is laden with misspellings, then the first impression the teacher gets is that this student is sloppy, pays no attention to detail, and needs to work more on their language skills.

Bad spelling skill ruins communication on any level, and overshadows any other language skills you might have. Which is, of course, a pity. English spelling is notorious for its absurd patterns, lack of rules, and thousands of loanwords from other languages, so what’s a frustrated ESL student to do?

Fortunately, good spelling skills can be mastered, and you can become a proficient speller — we’re talking spelling bee champion kind of level. The trick is to have a systematic approach to spelling mastery. Of course, a love for language will also help!

If you’re a teacher, ensure you devote ample time to teaching your students how to spell, and if you are a student don’t give up on your spelling practice.

Spelling is an acquirable skill you can easily master as long as you are willing to learn. Invest in a spelling improvement program or practice your spelling with the help of a friend or teacher. The Internet has also many free quality resources for you to practice with.

To become a proficient user of the English language don’t focus on vocabulary only. Make sure you cultivate your spelling skills as well, because it’s an equally important skill that can make – or break – your language skills in general.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

When Good Vocabulary Is Not Enough

Why Writing Skills Need To Be Perfected





Can’t average writing skills meet your needs in most situations? I’m afraid the answer is “no.” If you want to move ahead in your career and personal life you need above-average writing skills.

There’s more to writing than you might think

Writing and its associated skills form a complex network of competency that rests upon many other important abilities. To be a competent writer, you need to have mastered spelling and proper grammar usage, you need to have a rich and deep vocabulary, and you must have the ability to express yourself with clarity and eloquence.

What this means is that good writing skills will be the proof of your skills in many other areas as well. You will come across as a smart, competent person — a prerequisite for any job on today’s competitive market. It’s not an exaggeration to say that there’s no better self-promotion tool than impeccable writing skills.

Your writing is a reflection of who you are

Even if your job doesn’t require a lot of day to day writing, whenever you’re required to write something, whether that’s an email or even a simple text message, people will still judge your intelligence and competence based on your writing.

While it may sound condescending and presumptuous to judge a person solely on their writing skills, it happens. People use the written word to see how a person thinks, what their values are, and what principles and ethics their lives are governed by.

Great writing skills help you construct and project a competent, intelligent, and persuasive personal brand. Bad writing skills will more likely cost you a shot at better career prospects.

The written word is supreme

Most office-based jobs require that you master written communication skills. In fact, most formal communication in companies is through the written word. Government proceedings, legal documents, and contracts are not orally communicated, they’re always expressed through formal writing.

Everything worthwhile and binding is in written form so it’s crucial that you’ve mastered writing skills by the time you start your career. In fact, the earlier you learn these skills, the better, since they will help you get the education you need to succeed in that career. You need to be able to write and communicate in a variety of contexts — a Q3 report is not the same as writing a grant proposal— but also be able to understand and process formal language content and avoid any misunderstandings and errors.

Read voraciously to improve your vocabulary, and when you are writing, try keeping your sentences short and simple even when using that advanced vocabulary. Follow formal style and format rules to get the most professional end result, and always spell-check and proofread your content. Writing skills are valuable, and worth the effort they take to acquire them.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Study English and Learn How To Type Fast At The Same Time





How would you feel if you found out there’s a way to improve your typing skills at the same time you’re practicing your English? Sounds pretty great, right?

School assignments and hefty schedules, extracurricular activities, and even your social responsibilities can overwhelm you.  That’s why it’s important to come up with effective and time-efficient study methods, like improving two skills in a single practice, or leveraging existing knowledge when you learn a new skill.

For instance, if you want to learn Italian, your proficiency and knowledge of Spanish will give you a head start.Since both languages belong to the same language family of Indo-European languages, there are many similarities in vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, and grammar, such as their use of the gerund.

With the thought of multitasking in mind, why not use a computer during your your next English practice session? If you’re working on new vocabulary, find a vocabulary game you can play online. If you’re working on your spelling, there are several spelling activities you can use to practice for free and at the same time hone your typing speed and accuracy.

The best thing about this plan is that you don’t really need to worry about typing correctly or quickly when you practice your English skills. All you need to do is focus on the activity at hand and the aspects of the English language you’re concentrating on, and at the sametime – without any extra effort – your typing skills will improve, too!

Next time you need to work on your mastery of English as a whole why not do one of the following?

1) Publish a blog post using some of the new words you’ve learned recently.

2) Write a short essay or a few paragraphs about something you care about or are interested in.

3) Be active on several social media platforms on topics you want to share your opinion on.

4) Help others by providing answers to their questions. You can do this on Yahoo Answers, Wiki Answers, and even Twitter.

In fact, Twitter will help you hone your vocabulary quickly, since you will be expected to form your remarks in 140 characters or less – and that will help you practice finding exactly the right words!

* Find online photos you like and share them with your friends. Even better, upload some of your own photos and share with those instead. The catch is to create attention-grabbing and funny captions, another great way to use your newly-expanded vocabulary.

These are just a few of the activities you can use to improve your English skills and improve your typing performance at the same time, without feeling like you’ve put too much of an effort into it.

What’s your favorite study hack that lets you study English while simultaneously benefiting in other ways?


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Every Aspiring Writer Needs To Be Familiar With These Words





Are you excited about NaNoWriMo? November is the official National Novel Writing Month and many aspiring writers have dusted off their vintage typewriters or opened up their cutting-edge notebooks to celebrate NaNoWriMo with their stories and creative essays. eReflect and Ultimate Vocabulary™ want to honor and help aspiring writers in their creative efforts, and share 5 words that every self-respecting writer really should know. (H/T Huffington Post)

Hypergraphia

This word describes an overwhelming, almost impossible-to-overcome urge to write. While it seems like this is something every writer hopes to develop, hypergraphia also pertains to a mental disorder where the sufferer is compelled to write because of changes in their temporal lobe, something that can be cause by epilepsy or hormonal changes.

Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia refers to a transcription disability that leads an inability to write, even if the person truly wants to. People affected by dysgraphia essentially have a learning disability that prevents them from writing legibly and coherently. Impaired writing often coincides with other learning disabilities; some of the more common ones are attention deficit disorder and speech impairment.

Cacoethes scribendi

This Latin phrases refers to an itch to write that is so bad that it’s actually harmful to your health, a sort of hyper-hypergraphia. “Cacoethes” means a bad habit or malignant trend, or a condition that progressively worsens. In this uncomfortable situation, writing is considered a compulsion, or even a disease. And there’s no cure for it, other than more writing!

Griffonage

This word is one you might use to describe the average doctor’s handwriting. In other words, it’s writing that’s completely illegible. Any handwritten scribble you can’t make out is a griffonage. Remember, using your vintage Remington typewriter instead of pen and paper should eliminate such incidents altogether during your NaNoWriMo spree!

Mogigraphia

This is what any prolific writer gets from time to time. Mogigraphia is what’s referred to as writer’s cramps, the burning itch in wrist and fingers caused by incessant writing. Scrivener’s palsy is another word for mogigraphia. The spasms or pain felt in the hand due to excessive and prolonged fine motor activity generally comes from the cramped position of the hand holding a pen or pencil, but typists are also prone to similar muscle woes.

There you go! You’ve had a meta taste of words relating to writing, writers, and their woes. Whether you have an insatiable itch to write, or have already succumbed to the dreaded writer’s block, why not take a break from your writing efforts. But make it time well spent, by reviewing other lesser-known but immensely entertaining English vocabulary words!

Every scriputirent (a person passionate about writing) out there deserves to know about these words. Will you be experiencing, writing about, or using these words in your stories, now that you know of their existence?


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments
 

Every Aspiring Writer Needs To Be Familiar With These Words

5 Tips To Achieve Writing Efficiency




Improving your skill at writing efficiently is not difficult. In fact, you will see an improvement in your writing skills quickly, if you practice the following tips consistently.

1) Improve every aspect of writing

What makes up your writing skills? Well, spelling and grammar are the basics, and they’re basically two of the most important skills you can learn. Unless you master the fundamentals you cannot advance in your program of improving your writing efficiency.

Enrich your vocabulary and ensure you perfectly know how to punctuate sentences. Never use words whose meaning you don’t know, especially if you’ve never seen them used in writing before. Avoid using big words just for the look of them, and try to refrain from using overly-complex and long sentences. Keep it simple and clean!

2) Read like there’s no tomorrow

Good writers are first and foremost avid readers. Reading everything from magazines to menus, scientific journals to science fiction, improves your vocabulary, your ideas, and your overall knowledge.

Reading also exposes you to different types of content, from literary to business topics, and ensures you have ample opportunities to advance in your own writing skills: first by copying others and then by building upon what you creatively emulate.

3) Interact with others through written communication

The Internet is your playground for personal improvement as well as games. Forums and site comment sections offer you the opportunity to practice your writing, and to refine your ideas and critical thinking skills in the process. Discuss your opinions on videos, lectures and other forms of media online to fine-tune your writing skills; by watching those lectures or other content available in MOOC you’ll learn new and exciting things while you’re at it.

Make it a goal to always engage in conversation with intellectually stimulating people. It will offer you plenty of insights on how to better express your own thoughts in written format, as well as when you’re speaking.

4) Edit and proofread thoroughly

Remember the five C’s of effective writing: clarity, control, correctness, conciseness, and coherence.

Clarity refers to using the right word in the right context to communicate the intended meaning.

Control refers to how well and intuitively organized your writing is.

Correctness is your ability to abide by the rules for a language’s spelling, grammar, and syntax.

Conciseness means writing economically without fluff, repetition, or wordiness.

Lastly, coherence is the ability to present your ideas and thoughts in a way that flows smoothly and doesn’t impede the reader’s processing and understanding of what they read.

5) Have fun with your writing practice

Writing shouldn’t intimidate you. See everything as a challenge to improve your writing, and look for opportunities. For example, you can participate in writing improvement activities such as short story contests. Play games that help you enrich your vocabulary, or brush up your spelling skills through a smartphone app.

Keep an online or paper journal. Write letters even if you never get around to posting them. Simply put, make writing a daily habit. As the adage goes, practice makes perfect!
Apply these five skills regularly and consistently, and you will soon see an improvement in your writing skill efficiency.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Get Inspired! Wise Words Written & Spoken By Influential People (PHOTOS)




Oscar Wilde on Ambition

Mahatma Gandhi on Change

Albert Einstein on Creativity

Walter Disney on Dreams

Nelson Mandela on Education

John Legend on Experience

Henry Ford on Failure

Mark Twain on Kindness

Aristotle on Knowledge

Albert Mohler on Leadership

Thomas Edison on Opportunity

Winston Churchill on Public Speaking

Steve Jobs on Time

Martin Luther King, Jr. on Words & Silence


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Words of the Day: Precipitate and Predilection





We might be getting ahead of ourselves with two words instead of one, but we hope that by giving you a bigger taste of the wonderful world of English vocabulary today, you’ll find you have a tendency to want even more information about useful and powerful words you can use to improve your English vocabulary. To give you an example of how useful these words are, let’s rewrite that sentence:

We might be precipitate in offering two words instead of one, but we hope that showing you how many interesting words there are to learn will give you a predilection towards increasing the time you spend on your vocabulary study.

In this example sentence, we’ve used the adjectival form of precipitate, meaning “done in haste or without prior thought.” When you use this word as a verb, it means “to cause to happen suddenly or unexpectedly.” The word comes from the Latin verb praecipitare (“to fall”) and was first used in the 16th century in England to describe the chemical reaction in which bits of solid matter suddenly form from a liquid and fall to the bottom of a container. The speed of this chemical process, as well as the action of the solids in solution, led to both senses of the word. We commonly use the word precipitation to refer to rain or sleet falling from the sky.

Predilection refers to a preference for or tendency towards something. If you have a predilection for salty foods rather than sweet, you’ll probably choose to snack from the bowl of pretzels at a party instead of the one filled with candy. This noun comes from another Latin verb, diligere (“to choose”), along with the prefix pre- (“before”). Your predilection is the thing you choose before anything else.

Notice that although both English words begin with the letters pre, only the second word actually contains a true prefix meaning “before.” If you didn’t know the meaning of the word precipitate and came across it while reading, you might be searching for a definition that had the sense of “before (something)” to figure out the meaning of the sentence or passage as a whole, and you’d probably end up being very confused. Taking the time to do a little research into a word’s etymology will help you understand its meaning, and improve your ability to quickly add new words to your vocabulary.

Ultimate Vocabulary guarantees to help you increase your vocabulary knowledge! Learn more words and apply them in your writings.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

Words (Guest Post)




by Michael Stavropoulos


Learning our mother tongue is easy and takes a few years to be able to talk about the basics of the world we live in. When we learn a foreign language, though, things get more complicated. We have a number of obstacles to overcome. At first, learning is facilitated as we connect our new words with everyday objects, real things. But as our lexical input increases, we often stumble on obstacles. “What’s the right word for this?” we wonder. Or we learn a vocabulary item, but a few days or weeks later we can no longer remember it, especially when we need this word to do a speaking or writing task where we can produce language and prove we have made progress.

My teaching experience has shown me there are a few methods we can use to boost our lexical learning capacity and our ability to remember and retrieve the right word at the right time. Here are a few things I tell my students to do:

When first learning a new word, never learn only its translation into your first language; this is a common mistake made by many students who are in a hurry or who have never been shown another way. The reason for this is that words have connotations: in other words, they carry “feelings” and “colours” with them. Does the same word carry the same “feelings” and “colours” in our first language? Maybe yes, but more often than not, no.

“So”, my students say, “let’s say we don’t learn the translation only. What should we study?”

Here is my answer: “Always use a good monolingual dictionary that will have an accurate definition of the word. Study this definition carefully, but you need not learn it by heart as you will rarely be asked to define a word in any real context in everyday life.

“And why should we study something we will not learn?” they go.

“Because by reading the definition, you keep in your mind all -or most of- the essential knowledge you need to know about this word”.

“And then what?” they say.

“Every good monolingual dictionary will always have an example of how the word is used. Study it. Carefully. Repeatedly. Notice other words in the example that you can connect with the target word i.e. the word you are trying to learn. If you want, learn the example by heart. This will not do you any harm. If you learn things more easily by writing them down, then write the example down in a vocabulary notebook. If you can dedicate more time to this, write your own sentence with this word: this will enable you to connect the new word in your memory with a personal experience you may have had, somebody you know or any connection that is uniquely meaningful to you and your mind.”

My students look at me in disbelief. “It’s not right that learning a word should take so much time.” The class laughs.

“You may be right about the time”, I say. “But it is time well-spent and time saved.”

And I always finish this didactic conversation with my classes with a bang:

To paraphrase Ludwig Wittgenstein: “The meaning of a word is its use”. Prove to me you can put the word in the right context and I will know you have really learnt the word.

Cross-posted on the Vocabulary Software blog.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

How Does It Feel To Learn A New Language?





Learning a new language is a wondrous adventure. You travel in history, experience the culture, and taste a new way of living simply by learning the words that culture uses to express those concepts. But do you remember feeling the same emotions and sensations when you learned your first language – the one belonging to the culture you were born to? Probably not.

Acquiring Your Mother Tongue vs Learning a Foreign Language

There’s not much critical thinking involved when learning your native language. You learn to speak at a lightning fast speed, and amazingly you make up for anything that’s unknown or yet not solidified as a language rule through creative improvisation and substitutions. Children have an amazing capacity for vocabulary and communication that allows them to pick up a language without formal education, in a process that’s mostly unconscious.

Learning a language as an adult, however, is a different story. You already possess your native tongue, and you have experiences, emotions, beliefs, and opinions that influence and even interfere with your new language learning.

When you learn a second or third language your very own language often gets in the way. It leads you you make false assumptions about grammar rules and syntax, it confuses you with rules that do not exist in your language, and it leaves you feeling frustrated that you cannot find a corresponding entity or function in your mother tongue.

But that frustration, that ennui is surprisingly pleasureable if you look at it from the right perspective. You can in fact derive great satisfaction from learning a language so unfamiliar and disconnected from your own. You’re forced to reconsider the universality of your own language and understand how language defines your thinking and permeats your reality so extensively.

As the renowned Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein has said:

“[T]he limits of language (of that language which alone I understand) mean the limits of my world.

Expand your reality, expand the place you inhabit

What’s so marvelous about language is the way that it expands your reality. Where you used to have only one tool to make sense of your world, now you have two. This is true especially if you’re learning a language that’s vastly different from your own because it belongs to a different language family; the linguistic and mental shock can be even greater.

It’s one thing for a Spanish native speaker to learn Italian. It’s an entirely different thing for an English native speaker to learn traditional Chinese.

When you learn a totally unfamiliar language, you can’t help feeling like a child. You are a clean slate. You learn everything from scratch. It’s not just a new language, it’s a new culture and a whole lot of history. A brand new world awaiting discovery.

As you advance your language learning and you shyly start speaking the language, a sense of empowerment arises. You feel a growing pleasure, and you feel more in control because you can use a language – a string of words and sounds that was previously completely unknown – to communicate. Even something as simple as learning how to express a feeling or statement in another language makes you feel powerful.

There are many reasons to learn a new language, but one of the most pleasurable is to get the freedom that comes from the ability to communicate in and understand a different language. Yes, learning a new language has many professional and social benefits, but none can compare to the euphoria experienced when you achieve the previously unimaginable: gaining a new tool for communication.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments

How Does It Feel To Learn A New Language?