How to Learn a Foreign Language: 10 Life Hacks
You’ve probably heard all the steps related to learning a new language like be consistent with your practice, show up regularly, learn the first 100 words, and much more. These mundane practices may make the language learning experience a boring one. 5-Minute Crafts lists some unique and fun ways to learn a new language to keep yourselves entertained in this adventure.
1. Immerse yourself in the media or art of your target language.
Art provides infinite ways to make your language learning easier. If you love reading books, browse the collection in the language you’re learning.
If you’re more of a movie buff, watching international flicks with subtitles is the best way to find out more about the lingo. Netflix has a feature where you can see 2 subtitle languages simultaneously. It is made possible by a Chrome extension called Language Learning with Netflix.
- This extension only works on Google Chrome.
Another fun way to sharpen your language skills is to learn your favorite song in the language you’re studying. Or you can explore hit songs in your target language and learn the one you like the most.
2. Don’t be shy when learning to communicate in your target language.
If you always feel shy interacting in the language you’re learning, then it will become difficult for you to get accustomed to it. You may want to face your fear of speaking incorrectly and let go of the embarrassment to get used to the language quicker. If you don’t speak it, people may never know that you know their language. So, put your hesitation aside.
3. Date someone who speaks your target language.
This tip is only valid for single people, but it’s surely one of the coolest tips on the list. Go on a date with a native. The best-case scenario is if they don’t know how to speak your language. Even if you both do end up in some kind of argument, you can make your way out by saying that your words got lost in translation.
4. Be curious about the target culture.
Always remember that language and culture go hand in hand. In order to learn your target language faster, dare to expand your knowledge by getting acquainted with the culture as well. You can try exploring the culture by watching documentaries and movies, reading books, or connecting with people to have more of an immersive experience.
5. Write shopping lists in your target language.
Another way of being more immersed in the language learning experience on a daily basis is to make your shopping list in the target language that you’re currently learning. If you don’t know how to pronounce or write something, look it up on the web. Try your best to not write in your mother tongue on the list, or else it will be considered cheating.
6. Talk to your pets in the language you’re learning.
Although it may not generate any response, it’s fun. Talking to your pets in your target language is a very unique way of integrating language learning into your daily life.
7. Read Wikipedia in your target language.
In this way, you’ll make the most of the biggest free resource on the web called Wikipedia. You can also use it in many innovative ways to sharpen your language learning skills:
- Seek unfamiliar words and phrases and include them in your language rather than using a dictionary or a translator.
- Build up your vocabulary by reading similar subjects on Wikipedia.
- Learn how the words are pronounced by clicking on the speaker icon on the web page.
8. Understand the concept of the language instead of memorizing it.
Instead of learning the phrases, learn to understand the steps of how to learn a foreign language. Then, once you have gotten a grasp of the basics, you can easily modify it to your liking. This can be done by making the best use of grammar books.
For instance, in Spanish, it is very common for learners to mix up the genders in sentences, as shown in the image above. Words ending with ’o’ are masculine and words ending with ’a’ are feminine in Spanish grammar.
9. Force yourself to think in a new language.
As mentioned above, surrounding yourself with art and media related to the language you’re learning gives you more of an immersive experience. When you listen to more people speaking the same language, you tend to think in that language as well. Hence, this makes your understanding better. Another advantage to this tip is that you can add more newly-learned phrases to your vocabulary.
10. Keep the translation apps handy.
You may need apps like Google Translate when riding a taxi, shopping, or just for a simple conversation. You can also try to learn some new words in your spare time with the help of these services. These applications may not be perfect, but they’re an easy tool to rely upon when learning the basics of a new language.