Three Basic and Often Neglected Tools for Learning Serbian (or Any Language)
by Magdalena Petrović Jelić
When we learn a language, the main issue is to remember an incredible amount of data. Today we often rely on technology, we use apps and watch videos.
But is that really effective in helping us retain the knowledge? Are we doing our best?
In the modern world, we are flooded by all sorts of information from countless sources. Our attention is under constant attack. There are distractions everywhere. We’re prone to lose focus and click away.
Many people rely on new technology, apps and videos. And these are helpful resources, by all means – but they are not enough for learning.
If we find an information on a website or in a video, in a few days we will probably forget what was it about. As a recent study showed, passive internet users will only remember where they’ve seen it.
When you learn a language from an app only, it is usually difficult to go back and find a specific piece of information you need for a specific situation.
To remember new words and grammar rules – and we have to retain so many of them to learn a new language – we need to review. When we’re trying to use what we’re learning, we need a place to instantly glance at what we’ve seen the other day, or few minutes ago. Apps and videos take time to load.
To build our instant-memory-retrieving machine, we don’t need some super-expensive equipment, on the contrary!
It’s enough to get back to basics.
There are three loyal allies you can use for learning Serbian, or any other language.
These three tools are very cheap: almost free. Actually, you already have them at home!
They are simple to use and powerful.
And yet, they are often neglected.
These are: a pen, a notebook, and a box.
1# Basic Tool for Learning Serbian: A Pen
When we type on a keyboard, our brain will easily switch on autopilot. When we write by hand, our brain is fully engaged processing information.
New generations are growing on touch-screens and keyboards so today many people underestimate the power of a good old pen.
But you should use a pen to to scribble on printed materials and coursebooks, to underline or highlight what’s important. Use it to do exercises. Mark new words with it and write their translations on margins.
Here are three obvious benefits of using a pen:
- Only holding a pen will help you focus.
- Writing by hand will help you remember.
- Having notes will be useful for reviewing.
There are many kinds of pens and pencils you could choose, but you can also get by with only one.
2# Basic Tool for Learning Serbian: A Notebook
Use a notebook, because holding it in your hands is far more pleasurable than opening a Word document.
Pick a special notebook dedicated to the Serbian language. Whenever you find an important information, a word or expression you want to retain, write it there, right away!
Underline headlines and draw grammar tables. Jot down words and example sentences. Write notes, letters or stories.
That way you’ll have your notes in one place, readily available, and you’ll know where to look when trying to recall a word or a grammar rule.
Here are three obvious benefits of writing in a notebook:
- Organizing information in a notebook will help you organize them in your head.
- You’ll have a physical track of your improvement.
- It will be easier to pick up where you left after an inevitable break.
Later on, you’ll want to leaf through your notebook and review. In a year or so, you’ll love to take a look at it and see the progress you’ve made.
#3 Basic Tool for Learning Serbian: A Box
Find a box, or a large folder, where you’ll keep your “Serbian stuff”, because anything with words is a language-learning material.
As you advance in learning, there will be an ever-growing pile of
- leaflets and ads,
- even napkins, and
You’ll want to keep that in one place. Save those materials in your “Serbian box” as a little linguistic treasure.
You can use folders, envelopes and clippers to organize it.
You can decorate the box itself and write important words or phrases on it.
You can pin grammar rules on it, and after learning them, put that paper in the box, too.
Yes, I’m suggesting you should get physical in the digital era
Internet and modern technology are an incredible source of information. And that’s how you should treat them – as a source of information, and not studying material.
Since any data is just a click away, the human brain has become lazier then it used to be.
We need to trick it into remembering something that it feels there’s no need to remember – since it’s developed a habit of remembering where to find information.
I’m not trying to talk you out of all the modern-age utilities, they are very helpful. Continue watching videos, reading websites and using apps, by all means.
But to improve how you retain information, have your basic tools handy to make physical track of what you’re learning.
Tactile experiences with the three basic learning tools could be crucial for improving your memory and Serbian language learning.
Try for yourself and let me know if this advice has helped you!
What is your favorite basic tool for learning Serbian?