How to pick up another language: Language learning ideas (without a grammar book in sight!)

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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 Truth: Language Assistants

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!

 

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Amen to all of this, especially the first one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right! Also gives an excuse to go on holiday haha !

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      1. I could use a bit of that right about now!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Gem says:

    Nice tips! 👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much ! 😌

      Like

  3. I really enjoyed reading this blog article, at certain parts i had a laugh cuz i found things relatable for example the crying into a pillow watching netflix 😂like im almost tempted to write my own blog article about learning another language, cuz i have alot of tips that i’d love to share. On the daily i use four languages, two of them im fluent at as i grew up learning them and i have been learning french and german and nowadays i reached this stage where i can litteraly write and talk in them.. with the additional grammer mistakes here or there and obviously me talking at a slower pace because im tryna get it right the first time. I’d hope to read some more of your articles and im excited to read some more on the language ones

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I’m happy you enjoyed it and had a giggle ! Oh wow that’s awesome! You should totally write a post on that id love to read it, what are your native languages ?

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      1. I’d consider my native languages polish and english since all my family are polish and so am I, but because we moved to an english speaking country when I was so young i couldn’t possibly remember that move 😅 I was already exposed to the english language and even more so when I was enrolled to a school at the age of 5. So I grew up speaking both essentially, but I think I was always better at english than polish, probably because I never went to any school in Poland and the obvious reason being that polish is just one of the most difficult languages out there😂. French and German I began learning in secondary school but I was always in love with learning languages so even besides school, I study them on my own for my own benefit. Recently I began learning Tengwar, aka elvish, its not a real language unless your from the middle earth from the ring but i liked the idea of it idk let me know what you think and have you ever thought about learning any more languages ? 😂, I’m glad you would like to read a blog like that on my page, once I have one like that up, i’d give you a shout

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow your life sounds so interesting ! that’s so impressive and very cool 🙏🏼

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes! Watching shows with Spanish subtitles on has been my life lately. Have you used the Google chrome app Language Learning with Netflix? You can watch shows with both your target language and your native language and you can set it up to highlight common words or pause after each sentence so you can really work on your hearing. I can read decently well in French and Spanish but speaking and listening are so much harder when you don’t have people to practice with!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow I didn’t know that! I will definitely try it- thank you so much for the tip ! Haha and I agree speaking and listening in another language always seems so much more difficult !

      Liked by 1 person

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