Learning a new language is a long road and pouring over textbooks can sometimes feel like a chore. So here are our top tips for including language learning in your daily life.
1. Change the language of your electronics
This is a really easy one, just by changing the language of your mobile phone you’ll be exposed to lots of new words and phrases. Most of us navigate around our phone without thinking anyway, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. While you’re at it, why not change the language on your computer, browser, apps and social media? Just make sure you know how to change it back if it’s not working out!
2. Consume foreign language media
This is another fairly easy tip. Watching your favourite show or film means you already know the characters & general storyline, making it easier to understand.
Foreign language news channels are also a good way to hear clear language in a neutral accent, with the added benefit of visuals to help. The same goes for foreign language radio, which is often more accessible online.
Listen to your favourite songs in another language, or use the rhythms of music to help learn new ones. We’ve listed the benefits of learning through books,** but have you ever thought of reading foreign language magazines or newspapers? You can find magazines about any subject, and newspapers may have familiar news stories to help you along.
3. Build Associations with your Environment
Sticky notes are your best friend when it comes to language learning! Labelling things in your house will help you remember the names of objects but we also recommend labelling objects with associated phrases. Rather than just labelling a table, include a label that says ‘on the table’ and ‘under the table’. Try making up sentences with these phrases as you move around your house.
4. Pursue your hobby in another language
Have you ever thought that your hobby could help you learn a new language? If it’s something you already do then you’ll already be familiar with the words used. It also means you’ll be able to talk about something you love in your new language! Find a Spanish speaking yoga class near you, invest in a Italian cookbook, or head over to YouTube where you can learn how to do just about anything in lots of different languages.
5. Do a little at a time
We’re all busy and with language learning (and learning in general) little and often is better than cramming everything in one day a month. It’s important to learn regularly and do what you can within your daily routine.
Only got half an hour before your bus or 15 minutes before an appointment? It’s better than nothing and will keep the language fresh in your brain.
6. Speak to others and yourself
Our favourite tip for learning a language is to speak it. Chat to a native speaker, practice with your friends, help that Spanish tourist find the bus station! If no-one is about, talk to yourself! Speaking aloud improves your pronunciation, lets you practice sentence structure, and builds your confidence!
Want more tips? Multilingual student Alex Rawlings gives more advice in a British Council YouTube video.
This article was inspired by a previous piece by Ariadne on the LearnEnglishTeens website.
For more information on international experiences both home and abroad, visit out GlobeScotters page.