What are the easiest ways to pick up a language?
When you are learning a language, sometimes the thought of sitting down to a formal lesson can be daunting. Pretty soon the fun new hobby you started feels a little like a burden, study books and apps peeking at you in disapproval for not being touched in days. So why not make your language learning fun, and easy? Why not find small ways to inject a little language learning into your day? Here are our tips for turning learning tedium into learning you don’t even really know you’re doing — and if you do, then learning that is enjoyable!
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Netflix and… learn
Ah, Netflix, everyone’s favourite alternative to viewing whatever stuffy overpriced programming we’re being offered by the BBC. Netflix brings you new content in the shape of bingeable series and film every month, meaning there is always something to watch. The best thing about Netflix for us, as language lovers, is that we now have access to shows from the world over. We can watch a drama series in German in the morning and lose sleep over an action thriller from France at night. The choice is ours! And with so many series and films available in a variety of languages both audio and subtitled, your viewing experience can also be a learning one. How do you feel about picking up a little Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, or any other language, purely by finding something you enjoy watching?
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Do you like good music?
If the answer is yes, then you can even turn your playlists into accidental language lessons. Don’t believe us? Well, go on sites like Youtube and Spotify to find top 20 lists in your target language and hit play. All you need to do is listen a little and you’ll soon be singing along. When you find some artists you like, make yourself a playlist for when you’re out and about. Whether you’re commuting, at the gym, or just at the supermarket, at your disposal is a world of music in another language. Why is music such a useful language learning tool? Well, simple lyrics that you can pick up quickly, perfect pronunciation and grammar, slang words thrown in for fun, and repetitive hooks and choruses so the words get stuck in your thoughts. What easier way is there to learn than that? And if you really want to, you can find lyric videos of your favourite new songs to sing along to on Youtube. Turn your living room into a mini karaoke bar while you’re vacuuming or ironing!
Okay, so this one might sound a little much if you are new to studying, but trust us, this is a great way to keep your language learning going! Look out for language exchanges in your area that have more of a social feel; you’ll find them in places like cafes and bars, or on sites like Meetup. Then, pick your partner, and start talking. You won’t be alone if you are a beginner, and with a beverage to hand you’ll soon stop feeling shy. Some language exchanges are structured and organised, others are a bit of a free-for-all and more of a social gathering. You can check out their social media presence before attending so you know what you are letting yourself in for!
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Little things go a long way!
A language learning lesson doesn’t need to be anything lengthy or difficult. Post-It notes around the house to remind you of vocabulary lists you’re learning or grammar rules are equally as effective if you just want to jog your memory. You could try reading a short article in your target language, or follow an actor or musician you like on their Twitter or Instagram if their native language is the one you are learning. You could find a dish you like the look of and not only make your shopping list of ingredients in your target language but then follow the recipe in that language as well. There are so many small ways you can inject a little language learning into your day if you get creative! What are you going to try?
Would you like some help with your language learning? Language Trainers are here to help! Our native-speaking tutors are ELCAS accredited, and can organise a tailormade programme of study to suit whatever your needs, level, or schedule. Why not drop us a quick enquiry to see how our courses work?