When learning a foreign language, it’s all too easy to get bogged down in tired, traditional learning methods such as flashcards or dusty grammar books. Of course, vocabulary and grammar are integral to language learning, and you’ll undoubtedly have to put in some hard work in these areas, but that doesn’t mean it has to be endless drudgery. Language learning can, and should, be fun. You’re much more likely to retain information that you learnt whilst enjoying yourself. There are a whole host of methods you can try; here are just a few of them:
- Dubs and translations of familiar material
Strictly speaking, it’s probably best for you to watch and read content produced in your target language to further your cultural understanding. That being said, a dub of your favourite film or TV series can be a really effective way to boost your language skills. Think about it; you already know the story and therefore don’t need to worry about missing crucial plot details due to gaps in your language, and you’re bound to pick up new vocabulary naturally and effortlessly as you already know what everyone is talking about.
- Browse the internet in your target language
How long do you spend each day procrastinating online? Why not turn this time into a valuable learning opportunity by visiting your favourite sites in the language you’re learning? Buzzfeed, for example, offers a version of its site in a variety of languages, so now you can take personality tests in French and call it productive!
- Sticky notes
People might think that you’re a little insane when they come to visit a house plastered with sticky notes, but labelling household objects in your target language is a great way to learn vocabulary. You’ll see the word again and again without any conscious effort on your part, allowing you to avoid endless piles of flashcards.
- Make friends with native speakers
This is the perfect solution, you get to relax and have fun with your friends all the while practising your language! It might seem a little daunting, and at first it can be exhausting to have to express yourself in a foreign language all the time, but if you manage to meet kind (and patient!) people you can build lasting friendships and will have a more concrete motivation for learning the language.
- Keep a journal in the language
If you already keep a journal, why not switch it to the language you’re learning? You don’t have to feel embarrassed about mistakes you’re making as it’s strictly private, and you’ll find yourself needing to look up new words all the time, thus expanding your vocabulary. What’s more, you can look back on earlier entries and cringe at your old mistakes, whilst feeling smug about how far you’ve come!
- Foreign language music
Take a look at the top charts in a country that speaks your target language, there’s sure to be something that suits your taste. You’ll learn to associate the words to the tunes and will be much more likely to remember them as a result, and it’ll give you common ground to talk about with natives. Even if you’re struggling to distinguish words, it’s a good way of familiarising yourself to the sounds of the language.
So don’t despair, learning a language can actually be quite enjoyable. Mix up some of your more traditional study methods with these fun techniques and you’ll find yourself progressing without even noticing. If you enjoyed reading this blog, you can find more of the same here, and don’t forget to consult our job offers for bilingual secretaries in Paris.