Trying to learn a language and find that the day after mastering the past tense you’ve forgotten it? Me too. But over the years I’ve noticed certain things that really do help. Here’s my top 5.
- Listen to the target language at night and it might just seep into your dreams. Sometimes after listening to some music or watching a show in German I have dreams that are also in German! When I wake up in England I’m a bit confused but the feeling of pride in my brain overpowers that.
- When talking to yourself repeat the phrases in the target language to practice spontaneous sentence formulating. Walking down the street I’ll be thinking “ugh I’m cold…ach, mir ist kalt.” I’m yet to decide if this is the sign of a genius or the sign of a maniac.
It is probably both.
- The teachers are right, Quizlet is good. Final year university students (halloooo!) still use Quizlet because the structure of the practicing on it is so good. Moreover, a feature of the site is suggesting the definition for terms you submit. So, if you find a foreign word and want to learn it, you might not even need to look up the translation of it, just pop it into Quizlet and their clever algorithms will define it for you.
- Find artists that sing in the target language because that’ll make number 1 easier to do. Often, lyrics will use colloquial terms too so you’ll pick up on the vocab you wouldn’t get in a dictionary or a textbook.
It’s also quirky to like international music and all your friends will be so impressed…
- Set apps in the target language and you’ll naturally pick up on vocab and quirky sentences. Instead of liking things on Facebook I now say they gefällt mir, a sentence structure so grammatically different to its English equivalent that it needs to be learnt in context. Doing this early on in your language learning quest is ideal too, because you won’t be able to find the settings button to change the language back!
Doing all these things won’t make you learn a language, but it’ll certainly help in ensuring you’re immersed in the target language even when you aren’t actually practising.
Knowing languages is such a special skill and has many advantages, so if you’re not trying to learn one, why not start with these 5 tips?
Happy learning x