Learn a language can be fun
Learning new languages is one of my passions! Mainly because it helps me to get to know other people and different places and traditions without leaving my own city. This love for languages began when I started learning English, then I had a brief encounter with French. I also learnt German, a bit of Spanish and Italian, and even Latin. Well, I can’t say I’m fluent in all, I’m not, but I’ll get there! 😛 Learning these languages helped me to grow and become what I am today.
I had my first contact with these languages in Leiria, my hometown, some during my school years and others with friends. So for the ones who think learning new languages is difficult, it is not! It takes time and commitment, but there are various easy and fun ways to learn a language. It can also be really enriching. Let me show you how!
Here’s what I like to do when I’m learning a new language or practicing it.
1. Listen to some music and sing along
I’m not a good singer at all, but I like to sing. 😛 It is a fun way to learn a language and improve my pronunciation. I usually pick a song I like and then google the lyrics and sing along. Recently I found this website, LyricsTraining, and the fun thing about it is that it is a game and you can see how many words you can get right. Another advantage is that you can download the app and practice everywhere you want.
2. Watch your favourite films
Did you know you can improve your language by watching films? Think about the films you love, the ones you watch over and over again. You already know the story, right? Imagine you are learning German and you have your favourite film in German, with German subtitles in front of you. Can you think of a better way to associate sounds and words and learn some new vocabulary? Yes, that’s how it works! 🙂
3. Join SPEAK groups or events
If you like learning new languages by speaking with people who are fluent, this is a good option! Join a language and culture exchange group and you will have the opportunity to learn and practice with people from all over the world, in an informal and fun environment. Besides these groups, you also have the opportunity to attend cultural events, where you can meet new people and learn more about their habits and traditions.
4. Go out with friends and make it a language night
You are among friends and you decided that during dinner you can only speak in English. Can you think of a better environment to practice a language? Friends help each other and this is a good way to learn more vocabulary and lose the fear of speaking. With a glass of wine, we all speak better foreign languages, right? 😉 This idea can also work at the office. Imagine you deal with Spanish clients, so a good way to improve your Spanish is by practicing it with your coworkers. Define an hour a day where you only speak in Spanish.
5. Play some games
For people, who, like me, like word games, this is an option. Who doesn’t remember playing the STOP game as a child? Well, you can do it with the language you are learning. You exercise your memory and practice your writing. And the hangman? This is another game that will help you with vocabulary. For the ones who like modern board games, there are some that can help you practice a language. Check, for example, the game Codenames. Ah, and for the apps lovers, you have Duolingo.
6. Redecorate your house
Well, this one is not to be taken literally (unless you want to)! 😛 This tip was shared by a colleague and it really works. When you’re learning a language, why not put post-its with vocabulary or useful phrases around the house? Imagine you are cooking, you can label all the kitchen utensils and appliances, to memorize the vocabulary, or at the kitchen table you can put useful phrases like: “Can you give me the salt?, Do you have an extra napkin?” This also works at the office! It is a cool way to practice daily life situations.
Like Diane Ackerman said, “Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning.” That is why I believe these techniques can help you to learn a language in a fun way.