Debbie Nogueira
By Debbie Nogueira on December 13, 2021

3 Easy Ways to Learn a Language Doing Things You Already Do

Have you ever thought to yourself that you would love to learn a new language, but you just do not have time? Here is where your mother says, “make time.” But with such a busy and hectic life, how can you “make ” for learning a language? How about using some of your down time to learn a language? I know what you’re thinking: there is no way I am using my valuable vegging/relaxation time to use my brain cells to learn a language. What if I told you that you do not have to give up a single second of your precious chill time to gain fabulous new linguistic abilities? Here are three relaxing things you already do that you can repurpose to level up in your language-learning game. 

Woman downloading music on her laptop computer outdoorsListen to Covers of Your Favorite Songs

What is more relaxing than letting your favorite tunes flow through your ears and wash over your soul? Use these refreshing moments to freshen up your language abilities. Type in any popular song into Youtube and add “(language name) cover” and start listening to your favorite tunes in the language you are aspiring to learn. While listening, you can see if you are able to pick out words that you recognize. If you have the time and ability, you might even look for a video with the lyrics in your target language. Add the videos you find to a playlist and listen to that in your down time, rock out to it in your car, or add it to your shower concert repertoire. Pretty soon you will be able to express your emotional highs and lows in the original and cover versions of the song. 

Watch Your Favorite Movie or Show

You read that right. Just watch your favorite movie or show. You already do that anyway when you need a minute or five hours to immerse yourself in the juicy drama of your favorite Netflix show to forget about your troubles. You can even watch your show in English. No need to mess with your relaxation routine. You will want to put the subtitles in the new language though, if you want to advance in your language-learning journey. While you watch, see if you can figure out what written words match up with the spoken words. Do keep in mind that sometimes the subtitles are for the movie or show when it is in that particular foreign language, so they may be different than in the English version. When you feel like you have gotten some skills in your new tongue, try putting the audio of your favorite flick in your new language. Put the English subtitles on and see how it goes. When you are ready to meet the challenge, put the audio in your target language with the target language subtitles. Once you can do that, you have unlocked the pro language level. If you want to go even further, you could try searching for your particular language of interest on Netflix and find some shows or movies that are originally in the language you are looking for. By watching shows created for native speakers, you will not only pick up some slang, but will also be exposed to the culture of the language where the movie or show is set.

Meet Up With Friends

A friendly chat over coffee. Or a shared basket of chips with some salsa at the local Mexican restaurant with your pals. What could be more relaxing? These are things you already do. How about find a friend who also wants to learn the same language as you do and start learning together? You could watch the same show or movie and meet to discuss what you learned. Or start having basic conversations with your language-learning partner. The advantage of having conversations in your new language with a fellow language learner is that you will both be on the same level, so it takes the pressure away of possibly being blown away by a mouthful of rapid-fire words that you have never heard strung together, and you can avoid looking like a deer caught in the headlights. Instead, you can laugh with your buddy at the horrible pronunciation they have or at the obviously made up word they just said, and they will happily do the same for you. Another option would be to meet up with a native speaker who is willing to teach you about their language and culture. A third option, which may or may not be the most tantalizing, would be to start dating someone who is a native speaker. They say immersion is the best way, right?

Things You Might Not Already Be Doing

Find a good language-learning app or website

The best things in life are free so check out these free websites and apps: 

Websites:

Core Languages

Open Culture

Wordreference

Apps:

Duolingo

Drops

Busuu

For an in depth look at the 5 most downloaded language learning apps in 2021, check out our previous article here.

Sign up for language lessons

Invest in yourself and tap into the expertise of teachers and native speakers.

Websites:

Italki

Wyzant

Core Languages

 

Whether you just want to add some exotic spice to your down time or get serious with language lessons, start living your best bilingual life today!

Published by Debbie Nogueira December 13, 2021
Debbie Nogueira