5 Ways for the Intermediate Learner to Learn a Language While Just Living Life

Maybe you took a few Spanish courses at university or lived in China for a year. These experiences have given you a basic level of language comprehension, but any progress you make keeps getting lost in the busyness of life.

Does this sound like you? If so, then firstly, congratulations on successfully learning a language in the first place – sometimes, just starting (and getting past the beginner phase) is the hardest part. But, with any skill set, it’s necessary to practise and exercise those brain muscles. Otherwise, you’ll never get to experience real progress, no matter how high your level is now.

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Here are 5 methods to use to ensure that you practise daily, and continue to build upon your understanding, in ways that are conducive to your busy schedule:

First: Read a bestselling book in the language. The idea here is to pick something that you would already read anyway. Pick a book about self-help, cleaning, romance, economics – whatever you love. Then, mark it up with definitions of words and phrases you don’t know. Not only will you be practising your target language, but you’ll be reinforcing your knowledge of
vocabulary for things that you love. And, if you go with a bestseller book, it’ll likely be a bit easier to read at the intermediate level.

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Second: Listen to podcasts during your work commute. Listening to podcasts is so easy and enjoyable, everyone should be doing it. With all that time on your hands while commuting to work by car, train, bus, or plane, why not immerse yourself in another language? Seek out podcasts featuring native speakers talking about interesting topics, daily news, or current events. You’ll be amazed by how much this can help improve your listening abilities.

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Third: Netflix and Chill while watching shows or movies in your target language. Anyone who says they don’t Netflix and Chill – even occasionally – is probably lying. These days, it seems like everyone is doing it, whether a whole lot or just a little.

In between the weekend marathon of your favourite shows, or even just the occasional movie you sit down to watch, why not choose something in your target language? It’s really shocking how much language (and colloquialisms – yay!) we pick up while just watching a show. Why not put all that watching to use? You can use subtitles too, but make sure they’re also in the target language. Though Netflixing is usually done to relax, you can work within your own needs to strike a nice balance between learning and relaxing.

Fourth: Read the news in your target language with your morning coffee or tea. Okay, maybe you chug coffee on-the-go or don’t ever drink the stuff: The point here is to utilise little bits of time throughout your day (like during your quick stretch at work, lunchtime, or even bathroom breaks) to practise. Read, write, listen or speak. Find ways to “sneak” the language into your everyday life.

The quickest way to get burnt out is by overwhelming yourself with language just once a week or month for hours at a time, when all you really needed to do was reserve as little as 20 minutes a day toward language practice. Keep it fresh and exciting however you can!

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Fifth: Start a simple journal where you can write in the target language. One of the easiest language skills to neglect is writing. And, let’s be honest, it’s debatably much less important than listening and speaking skills, generally speaking. However, that doesn’t mean that developing it is a waste of time. On the contrary, when we focus on written fluency by recounting our days, talking about our plans, describing our fears, etc., we develop our mental capacity to understand, think in, and feel comfortable with another language. Of course, the best way to make this more effective for learning vocabulary and practising tenses is by talking about our everyday lives. Try it out!

Do you have an intermediate knowledge of another language? How do you keep up with practising it on-the-go? Share your tips with us in the comments section!