Language learning can be challenging. You may feel that language learning isn’t for you, or that it is no longer enjoyable.
In this article we’ll explore a few methods with which you can boost productivity and make language learning a hobby, as opposed to a tiresome chore.
- Find People Who Speak The Language
- Read The News In A Foreign Language
- Watch Shows And Read Books Made For Younger Audiences
- Create Coloured Notes To Reference When You Need To Jog Your Memory
- Try Reading Comics In The Language
- Conclusion: The Importance Of Enjoying Language Learning
Find People Who Speak The Language
Finding like-minded people is a great way to make language learning a hobby. Apps like Speaky, Babbel, italki, and Busuu are popular platforms for language learners. All four offer similar features focusing on connecting you to native speakers. Busuu focuses on 10-minute sessions that are easy to fit into a busy daily schedule, whereas italki focuses on connecting you with certified online language tutors. Babbel is the most popular of the four and offers lessons, online classes, podcasts, and a magazine.
Many learners also use social media, local event sites, and dating apps to meet new people with similar aspirations. These platforms offer a way to meet new people and make connections. They can be great for your learning as well as your social connections abroad. So whether you prefer meeting at a local cooking class, museum tour, or at a café, there’s always plenty of ways to meet other language learners.
Read The News In A Foreign Language
Reading news may not seem fun to some, but it’s not just politics and foreign affairs. You can, and should, read about a diverse range of subjects (including your hobbies). Diving into foreign language articles on history, entertainment, and technology will boost your knowledge of these subjects. As well as the types of phrases used exclusively in these fields.
Reading the news in a foreign language increases your exposure to formal vocabulary and commonly used phrases. While it may be difficult to find foreign-language newspapers in the UK, many are now available through their online sites. Some popular examples include Le Monde (French), Yomiuri Shimbun (Japanese), and Corriere della Sera (Italian).
It is a short task that can be completed daily. Even if you read one short article a day, or every few days. You’ll slowly build up your vocabulary and understanding of sentence structure in the written and spoken form. So if you prefer keeping up with foreign affairs, global news, or any other news, why not incorporate your language learning into the process to maximise your time?
Watch Shows And Read Books Made For Younger Audiences
Many studies suggest that children find it easier to absorb new information and languages compared to adults. However, it has less to do with age and more to do with content. Adults tend to move onto more structured material. Which has been purposefully crafted for learning the language in bite-sized and efficient slots.
Incorporating materials aimed towards younger audiences into your learning allows you to learn the basics of a language creatively. Information, as it is presented in children’s shows and picture books, is usually presented in bright colours and short bursts. This makes it easier to remember the content and easier to repeat the images and phrases internally. These methods help to strengthen your basic knowledge and understanding of sentence structure and vocabulary.
One method is to access English language shows on Netflix (or any other streaming service). Change the setting to have English subtitles on for your target language. The more common method is to go directly to foreign content and watch the shows in their original language.
Create Coloured Notes To Reference When You Need To Jog Your Memory
Note-taking is a common method of learning and revising new material. Colour coding notes and separating them into topics, languages, and types of content is a great way to make your learning efficient and enjoyable.
Including small creative and artistic activities can help break the workload into manageable chunks. It can also make the activities more fun and memorable. One example is decorating your notes with relevant illustrations to help make the content more memorable.
Try Reading Comics In The Language
After going through material for children, another idea you could incorporate into your learning is graphic novels. Specifically graphic novels that are written in your chosen language. Graphic novels can be a great way to learn more complex words with the context of images to help you learn phrases quicker. Graphic novels can be less intense when compared to novels, therefore. So, they allow you to focus on enjoyment while reading and learning.
Here are a few examples of popular foreign language graphic novels to get you started:
- Asterix (French).
- Yotsuba& (Japanese).
- Lupo Alberta (Italian).
- Mafalda (Spanish).
- The Incal (French).
- Kinderland (German).
- Irmina (German).
- El Eternauta (Spanish).
Many foreign graphic novels are available in English as well as in their original language. We’d suggest reading it in its original language version first. Alternatively try English first, followed by the foreign language edition to get an understanding of the story.
Conclusion: The Importance Of Enjoying Language Learning
The importance of enjoying your language learning experience is often missed in formal education. The quicker you lose interest and focus, the sooner you’ll feel like quitting. There are many simple ways, as stated above, that allow you to make language learning a hobby. And thus, improve your overall experience. The most effective way is to find things you already have an interest in and explore how to incorporate that into your sessions.
Our Language teachers incorporate media and resources ranging from newspapers, films and books to enhance your sessions. Our courses at Learn&Co help you to learn effectively by tailoring to your requirements and goals. Check the Learn&Co site to see what courses are on offer.