5 Ways You Can Incorporate a New Language into Your Daily Life
There are many pros to immersion programs when it comes to learning a new language. However, not all of us can dedicate the time, funds, and commitment that an intensive language course requires. Nor can we pick up and move to the other side of the world for months at a time in order to progress more quickly with our learning. If you’re one of these, don’t feel despondent; you can have an enriching and effective learning experience without having to drop the cash and find the time for language immersion abroad. Incorporating your target tongue into your everyday life is the perfect way to take your learning to the next level—without putting strain on your wallet or schedule. Check out these great tips on how to do just that!
1. Less is more
I know you’re probably very busy juggling family, work, and a myriad of other things, which can mean that your language learning suffers. But, when it comes to effectively incorporating a language into your daily life, you don’t need to spend 12 hours a day focused on the language. In most cases, less is more, as long as you’re doing it regularly. If you only have 15 minutes or 30 every day to squeeze in some review time, that’s fine! As long as you make it a point to spend those precious minutes on the language you’re learning, and you do so consistently, you’ll be surprised at how much you can progress!
2. Out to lunch
It’s really tempting to spend our lunch hour surfing the internet, or chatting with colleagues, but if you’re serious about your language education, you’ll opt to use that valuable time more wisely. Listen to an audio book or podcast in your target tongue, or spend time going over flashcards while you eat your sandwich. If you think about it, there are actually some significant pockets of time during your day that you can spend using the target tongue. You can listen to music in the language during your morning and evening commute, or do one more word on that crossword while on a coffee break. It might be hard at first to change your habits to center more around the language, but once you see the results, you won’t want to stop.
3. A chatty Cathy
The ideal is that you’ll have someone to practice your target language with every day, but the reality is you probably won’t find someone you can talk to on a daily basis. The great thing is, you don’t always need someone else when you want to practice! Talk out loud to yourself when you’re at home alone. Narrate what you’re doing so you can practice your vocabulary (and learn new words too). You may feel silly, but speaking aloud will help you to build confidence and exercise your pronunciation. Of course, don’t give up completely on practising with another person either. Make sure you have a chance to do that at least once a week, whether it’s through language exchange or by taking classes.
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4. Happy hobbies
You’re much more likely to want to dedicate time to a language if you enjoy it and are having fun, right? While not every aspect of language learning is fun, there are ways to make it so you’re keen to learn even in your down time. Integrating a language into your hobbies is an excellent way to make it an enjoyable part of your life. At first glance, it may not seem like language and the things you love have much in common, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll be surprised at the possibilities! Most big cities have classes in many different languages in order to accomodate to an international clientele. So, whether you’re into yoga, love painting, or enjoy cooking, you’re sure to be able to find classes in your chosen tongue. And if not, YouTube has a wealth of videos that cater to specific hobbies and languages.
5. The early bird
Sometimes timing is everything when you’re trying to pick up a new skill, and this definitely applies to language learning! If you struggle to incorporate language learning throughout your day, how about starting your day off with it instead? Your brain is at its freshest when you first wake up and spending some time on your target tongue means that you can check something important off your list before even leaving the house. Instead of reaching for your phone to browse Facebook or check your e-mails, how about spending those first 10 minutes reviewing with a language app? And don’t turn on the TV to catch the news, instead switch on a radio station and listen to the news in a foreign language. There are even podcasts out there dedicated to sharing the news in shorter, slower snippets for those looking to learn! Getting to your language learning first thing in the day means that you won’t feel guilty later on if you haven’t found the time or the means to use it.
Have you found creative ways to make a foreign language a part of your daily life? Share a few of your own tips with us!