Tricks For Learning a New Language

My American Sign Language (ASL) Barbie doll, currently up for sale on eBay, has her fingers shaped in the sign for “I love you.”

I tried to learn sign language in my younger days.

Didn’t use it much. It didn’t “take” and I did not advance beyond the basics.

I tried learning Spanish.

It didn’t take.

Ask my former co-workers who speak Spanish. They found it quite amusing that the only things I could remember and say well was, “The apple is red” and “Where is the bathroom? Pronto, pronto!”

I tried learning French and German.

Didn’t take.

The transformation of my life required changing my “thought” language.

Uh oh.

It did take, because I used some of the same tricks for learning a new language and applied them to changing my thought patterns.


Recognize why you want to learn a new language and make the decision to be in it for the long haul. No one needed me to communicate with him or her in sign language, Spanish, French or German. There were no plans to travel to different countries. It sounded fun and that wasn’t enough motivation to make a lasting commitment.

Changing the language of my thinking and thought patterns improves my life and moves me closer to my dreams. I wanted to learn and made the commitment.


Experts say talking to yourself is a good way to practice pronunciation. Hear yourself speak aloud and build confidence to speak to someone else. Focus on useful, every day, practical words and phrases.

When transforming thought patterns, it is crucial to listen to yourself. Words and phrases highlight where negative thinking is a conditioned response. Write them in a journal or notebook. The process may trigger additional thoughts or emotions, write those down too.


Play with the language, have fun with it and be willing to make mistakes. Adults tend to give children and youth more leeway to make mistakes. Give ourselves (and other adults) permission to let go of perfection and embarrassment. If we use the wrong word or phrase or pronounce it incorrectly, someone will likely point it out. Thank them for their help while you are getting the feel for the language.

Many of our beliefs come from childhood teachings. Give yourself permission to question those beliefs and the resulting thoughts and behaviors. Explore if they are right for you and the life you desire. For each negative thought, give yourself the gift of discovery. Like a child, you are starting fresh and getting the feel for something new.


Practice every day. Speak the new language, write it, think it, sing it. Use it. Feeling frustrated? Take a deep breath; ask for help. If you are learning from recording and written materials, take a class or find someone fluent in the language and ask to practice. People love helping people, especially when you are motivated to learn.

Practice changing your thought patterns by going back to what you wrote in your journal or notebook. Take each negative and turn it in to a positive. If you don’t know how, search for the word or phrase online, research self-help books, ask a therapist or psychologist for help.

When you hear yourself (verbally or inside your head) using a conditioned thought or response, take a deep breath, acknowledge it – my therapist taught me to say “Hum, interesting” – and redirect to your positive words or phrases.

Pay attention to what fears are blocking you from believing the positive words or phrases. Until you release the block, positive affirmations will not work.

Thank the CEO of the Universe® for help with removing blocks. “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4 KJV)

Give yourself a treat; learn a new language. Improve on the beautiful person you already are and remember to tell yourself everyday “I love you.”

© 2013 – 2015 Susan C. Fix All Rights Reserved is devoted to transformation and reinventing life. Topics and projects are wide and varied as inspiration is found around any corner anytime, anywhere.

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