Learning a new language takes dedication and consistent practice. Textbooks are helpful but not enough. To truly master a language, you need to find ways to integrate language learning into everyday life. Learn the vocabulary you use on a daily basis, pick up real expressions and adopt the textures and details of the culture of the language. Here are a few tips to make language acquisition a consistent and integrated part of your life.
If you’re an intermediate learner, try watching foreign movies without the subtitles and see how much you can grasp. If you’re a beginner, find movies with subtitles so that you can follow along. It’s kind of like learning to ride a bike, in the beginning we all need some extra help. Either way, we’ve spoken about the benefits of watching movies as a fun way to hone your linguistic skills, especially during the lockdown.
Listen to Music
Music is universal. Whether you’re listening to a love song, rap or pop music, it is a great way to learn spoken languages, including the nuances, idioms and common sayings. Plus, if you enjoy the music, it provides extra motivation to learn the language! Some languages or songs can be hard to decipher (i.e. opera), but you should be able to find lyrics online so you can follow along.
With the internet comes the ability to connect with people all over the world, instantly. There are lots of Facebook groups or meetup groups that cater to people trying to learn and practice a foreign language. Join a group and you’ll be able to find avenues to practice your written and spoken language skills.
Don’t be afraid to pick up a book or two. If you’re a beginner, there is nothing wrong with getting yourself some children’s books in the language of your choice. Once you get to an intermediate level, you can slowly upgrade the books you read to harder ones. Don’t fret if you find yourself focusing more on the language and words than the story, or if it takes you a lot longer to get through a book. You might start to realise how much you’ve taken reading in your mother tongue for granted, but it’s a great way to improve your language skills and build up your vocabulary.
Read newspapers online
If books are too long or not your cup of tea, most major newspapers are now online, and you can access certain parts of it for free! This is a great free tool for anyone who is trying to learn a new language. The reason reading the news in a foreign language is useful is because you will have some existing knowledge about the stories you read about either from your own knowledge or media in your mother tongue. National and local stories will give you a unique cultural insight. By reading in a different language you may get a different point of view on a story and will probably pick up some interesting vocabulary. Opinion pieces, for example, are often great for learning idioms.
Here are some major newspapers you can start using today!
EL País – Spanish
Le Monde – French
Talk to a native speaker
Conversing with a native speaker of language, even it’s not a formal setting, can help you sound more fluent, and more like a native, from your pronunciation to your word usage. That’s why the Agape School of Education (ASOE) hires native speakers for our courses.
Sign up for a refresher course
At the ASOE, we offer language courses in 15 different languages to help you combine study with travel, prepare for a examination, get accredited or open new opportunities in your career!