Yes, learning a foreign language is a challenge, but we believe that with these 9 clever tricks you will be fluent in the language you’re learning in no time!
Make labels for things all over your room or house and don’t forget the gender in languages like French or German that have a grammatical gender. Try to also add verbs that describe or have a connection to the noun you have labelled, for example on your ‘chair’, also make a note of ‘sit down’ and ‘get up’. Remove the labels only after you have mastered the vocabulary and add new sticky notes. Give yourself a realistic timeframe, for example remove and add 20 sticky notes a month.
Writing shopping lists or to-do lists in the language you’re learning are great ways to add relevant words to your vocabulary. Look up the words you don’t know, and in no time you will know the translation for most items in your shopping trolley!
Listening to the radio or watching foreign movies will help you develop ‘an ear’ and a better understanding of the language. Pronouncing the words is even more important than listening, so why not find an album of a foreign artist you like, try to understand or look up the lyrics and sing along!
This is probably the most fun way to bring a foreign language into your everyday life. Next time you grab a coffee from the Italian café, greet the Baristas with “Buongiorno! Come stai”? and explain to them that you are learning their language. I’m sure they will be more than happy to take your orders in Italian from now on J
One of the best tips we can give you is always having a great language tool with you – this can be a bunch of flashcards small enough to easily carry with you, or fun and free apps for your smartphone, for example ‘duolingo’ or ‘babbel’. This way, you can capture “wasted” time (standing in line, riding the bus, waiting for class to start, etc.) and turn it into productive study time. Even if you only have a couple of minutes, you can use it to study a few flashcards or complete a new ‘level’ on your app.
Try to translate little things like advertising slogans and posters – as you are bombarded all day long, it can turn into mini exercises. It will constantly keep your brain busy and you will start to think in the language you are learning before you know it!
Again, this is another easy way you can bring language learning into your everyday life. If your GPS talks to you in French, you will have no trouble understanding directions and finding your way around Paris once you make that trip to France. Also changing the language on your computer, phone and social media platforms will turn every second you use your devices and scroll through your news feed into mini practices.
This is something you probably haven’t thought of, but it’s a great way to practice whilst doing every-day things like shopping or cooking. Most product descriptions are on the package in many languages, so find yours, try to understand it and if you don’t know a word, you can always ‘cheat’ and read the English description above!
Who doesn’t have a chat to themselves every now and then? “Oh, I’ve still got to ring …” or “Okay I’ve done that, what’s next on my list?” If you start speaking in the language you’re learning, you will be thinking in this language very soon. Of course it’s nicer to speak to someone other than yourself, but if those Italian guys at the coffee shop are busy or you can’t justify going to the German pub every week just to practice speaking, speak to yourself!