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Welcome back guys, hope you are all safe and well.
In my previous post I mentioned about how I missed travelling or being outdoors and it got me thinking……why not do a post on how to pick up a language in a way that is actually enjoyable and not purely on the web?
I am sure all of us at some point have brought books or online programs to learn languages then lost interest after a few weeks, or days even right? It just reminds you of being back at school eurghhhhh. I am by no means an expert but I do feel I have a pretty good grip of getting creative with language learning and got myself to a comfortable level in a few languages. If you want to get some fresh ideas or inspiration on picking up another language WITHOUT A LANGUAGE BOOK IN SIGHT then keep reading…
THE OBVIOUS ONE:
In my experience the best way to pick up a new language is to move/visit a country in person. Hear me out on this one, I am not saying you need to pack up your bags and book a one-way flight but if you are able to work abroad or study abroad then that opportunity is definitely one to consider. In one year of living in Barcelona, I learnt a huge amount of conversational Catalan which is more than I learnt in 5 years studying from a book in the UK. I understand this option might not be practical for everyone but, in my opinion, there are a lot of benefits. I have written a post about living abroad as a language assistant which I will link below if you want another read
THE ADORABLE OPTION:
Take it back to tradition and reach out to a pen-pal! This is one of my favourite things to do. As most of you know, I am very vocal about the fact I have made so many incredible friends from my blog or social media. When I was young I made friends with a girl in Mexico and we would write to each other in different languages then try to figure out what everything means. It made googling words a lot more exciting when you actually know they are words that are commonly used and not just the everyday basics you learn in Kindergarten haha.
ONE FOR THE DARING INDIVIDUALS:
Add the keyboard of another language in your phone. It makes finding words or phrases online so much easier when you have the exact alphabet instead of trying to sound it out! I actually have my phone set to another language too but this has tested my patience a lot when I am quickly trying to find something and have no idea how to decode everything. One time my friend set her phone to Greek and couldn’t set it back to English for a good few days oops…but that is a story for another time.
FOR THE SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES:
I urge you to join a language group or social meet-up. These are often free in so many cities or towns and is just a matter of finding out what is happening where you live. You’d be surprised how many communities have weekly meet-ups to learn new languages or socialize with individuals abroad. I attended a few of these prior to one of my language exams a while ago and I learnt so many interesting words which I could add into my conversational exam (yessss lets bump up those scores) The nice one with this is that in large cities or capital cities you can find events on apps like ‘Eventbrite’ which are fantastic for keeping tabs on these sorts of gatherings.
When you put yourself in situations where you are forced to string up conversation you find yourself speaking more without inner-judgement and doubt. It is so much better to try and fail than never try at all.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ZERO TIME:
We have all been there, life gets in the way and next thing you know you find yourself sobbing into a cushion comfort eating and watching Netflix on repeat. However, adding subtitles in another language or even having the AUDIO in another language is such an easy way to develop phrases and also the pronunciation of words (as I am sure we all know Google Translate doesn’t always get that right!) Putting subtitles in another language is one of the easiest things you can do and probably one that doesn’t disrupt your daily routine too much as it can be incorporated so easily.
ONE TO DRIVE EVERYONE MAD:
I think my old flatmates must have been annoyed to the core when I put sticky notes with words on everything. I remember googling a bunch of words in another language and sticking them on different objects in the house which I thought were important. Seeing as I go to the kitchen what feels like every second it became second nature seeing a sticky note on the fridge with the equivalent in another language. I found this ‘tip’ particularly useful when I was trying to describe things in another language rather than striking up conversation.
GOT A SPARE ROOM?
Is there anything that feels better than helping others? One good option if you have a spare room is to rent it out either to backpackers or even exchange students. I remember being on my first Spanish exchange when I was 16 and my host couldn’t speak any English so I was communicating with her in Spanish. It makes me think if you host someone then you will probably see them daily so get to interact often. Plus if you are always talking like myself then I am sure you will be excited at the prospect of hearing about new cultures or learning slang.
I have tried and tested all of these and some have had more success than others but it really depends on the person. I would be so curious to hear if you guys speak any other languages! Let me know!