When it comes to learning a new language, people tend to lean towards the familiarity of a classroom setting. While this is a perfectly good way to learn, there are other simple tricks that you can add to your daily routine to speed up the learning process. After all, learning a new language can be tricky and sometimes it’s better to use all of the tools at your disposal!
TIP #1–Watch movies or TV shows in the language you’re trying to learn (subtitles too).
Who doesn’t love movies? I have found that watching my favorite movies in the language that I’m trying to learn is actually more effective than just watching random ones. We all have those movies or shows that we just love to watch time after time– so much so, that we are able to quote most of the things that the characters say. For me, the show would be “Friends” (watched the entire series over 10 times) and the movie would be “The Proposal.”
The site that I prefer is Netflix; it’s trustworthy and you can avoid being startled by random popups. If you don’t have a Netflix account you can check out Primewire, which is the one I go for when I can’t find a certain movie or show on Netflix; overall it’s a great site with a huge selection but it does come with some bothersome popups so if you’re easily frustrated by that, stick with Netflix.
Using entertainment as a tool in language learning should be suggested more often because even though you may be watching your favorite show or movie in a language that you don’t fully understand, you can easily relate the words you’re hearing to what you already know is being said. It is extremely important to learn to listen before you can learn to speak!
TIP #2–READ, READ, READ in that language.
Reading is a vital part of language learning. Books are not only an inexhaustible source of knowledge and entertainment, but they are also a great workout for your brain. It’s a fact: The more you read, the more words you are exposed to, which means that your vocabulary expands. The main thing is to choose your reading material wisely so don’t pick up anything that you know will bore you to death.
Choose a book that you already enjoy or one that fits the genre you prefer. Every time I walk into a bookstore, I run/prance towards the mystery and thriller section like a five-year-old going into Disney World. I just love the suspense of not knowing what’s going to happen next! My books of choice are still the Agatha Christie novels (She was nicknamed the Queen of Mystery after all).
As non-native speakers, you will be able to look at words used in their context which, in turn, aids in giving them meaning and coherence while perfecting your grammar. This way you will retain more information because you are actually visualizing the words as you read them. You will soon be able to prove that indeed, practice does make perfect.
TIP #3–Welcome technology to help language learning.
Nowadays, there are many structured learning opportunities that you can take advantage of. From online courses to easily accessible gamified apps like Duolingo and Babbel, language learning is quite literally at your fingertips and it doesn’t have to put you to sleep in the process.
Although some apps keep track of your progress, it’s up to you to be diligent about it and to kick procrastination to the curb. A simpler way to learn while using technology is by switching the language on your phone, which will actually force you to not only memorize but to understand and retain new words faster.
How is your language learning going? Any tips to help others that you’d like to share?