J (programming language) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For about a year and a half now, I have been learning languages. First Spanish and now Samoan. It’s been fantastic and I love doing it. Learning and writing about it has become such a great love, but I have been learning another language besides Spanish and Samoan. I’ve never mentioned it before in the blog, not because I was hiding something. I just never thought it would be relevant.
How could I not think that learning a language would be relevant to this blog. Well it’s not a spoken language or even one to communicate with another person. It’s a programming language. I have been learning how to program Excel using Visual Basic for Application (VBA for Short). Though it wouldn’t seem like there is a correlation between learning a programming language and a spoken one, I have found a couple of things that are related.
Start with your own language
Before you start writing code at all you have to understand what it is you want. I get done a lot faster, with much better code if I can explain and plan out the code in English first. If I can’t understand what I am trying to do in my own words, then how can I write the code for it?
Same goes with spoken language. Your own language is a great starting off point. Write a sentence or a paragraph about some subject you are interested in and then start translating it. Give it to an expert and have them check it. Then memorize it and improve it!
Trail and error is a great tool
Trail and error are two great words in coding. You know what you want to do, but then you get a stumbling block and nothing you do seems to work ok. So you keep trying and trying till you finally, and probably accidentally, figure it out and it works. The reason it works is because you were doing something. The very act of doing helps you get there.
Language learning is like that. Just keep trying and even if you are not learning something the most efficient way you can, momentum will eventually bring you there.
Just hit record
Sometimes, you are just so stuck with this or that and you don’t know how to even address the issue. This is often a good time, in office programs at least, to use the Record macro. You can then go look at the Macro code and tweak it for what you are trying to accomplish.
Sometimes, we also need to just hit record and listen to Experts of our language. Then pick it apart and tweek it for what you eventually need to say. Don’t for get that conversations can’t happen by themselves. You may have to really try hard, but when you are get a chance to speak with an expert/native speaker, pay attention and “record” mentally what they say.
That’s it. Hopefully this will help you in your journeys going forward.