Learning a new language can be a daunting task and can seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. The best way to make it easier to learn a new language is to make it fun and enjoyable. If you make it fun and interactive you will be more likely to remember everything you learn and you will be more likely to continue. Below are some fun ways to learn a new language from home. The methods listed below are exactly what we are doing in our own language learning journeys.
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1. Watch TV shows and movies
The great thing about the current world in which we live is it everything is so accessible. You can watch foreign TV shows and movies on YouTube, Netflix and many other streaming services and even certain TV channels. Here in Australia, channel SBS has a lot of foreign TV shows and movies aired on TV every day.
The easiest way to start this is to watch children’s programs. Starting with a TV series aimed at children is great for beginners because they are created for young children who are learning their own native language.
Another option is to watch your favourite movies or TV shows, the ones you can recite word for word, but watch it in a foreign language with subtitles.
2. Post-it notes
Place post-it notes around your house. Post-it notes written in your target language make it easy to practice and to continue to speak the language out loud. This is what we started doing to learn Korean and Japanese. We stuck post-it notes on all of our kitchen appliances like our fridge, microwave and kettle and all throughout our house on our bookshelf, bed, tv, computer, windows and anything else you can think of. With this method, we say the word out loud and it helps to reinforce and memorise it easier.
A really fun way to learn a new language is to find food blogs and websites, written in your language of choice, with recipes. Not only will you learn to cook new dishes, but you will also learn to read and understand what the different ingredients are and the different methods of preparing and cooking.
Another great resource for finding foreign recipes in your target language is Pinterest. We have been able to find so many amazing recipes on Pinterest that have been great to try.
4. Watch YouTube education channels
There are many language learning education channels and many of them are very good. Whether you want to learn a common language, like Spanish or French, or something really obscure, like Swahili or even made up languages like Klingon or High Valyrian, there are dozens of Youtube channels dedicated to teaching you. We love learning languages through these educational channels on Youtube, they are very helpful and a lot of fun.
We love to watch Youtube channels like Japanesepod101, they update their channel every week and even host weekly live streams.
There are so many language learning apps available catered towards any language you can think of. Many of these apps are gamified so they are fun and can be highly addictive.
There are hundreds of apps to choose from including:
And many more.
All of these apps are very different from one another so we recommend using multiple apps. Apps are a great way to get started in a new language, you can test them out for free to see if it is the language you really want to learn.
6. Read foreign books
One of the best ways to learn how to read and understand how a language is used is to read books. Kids learn their native languages and how sentences are structured by learning to read from a young age. Learning a new language should be viewed in the same way as a kid learning their native language. Start reading in your target language. The great thing about the internet is you can easily find these. You can buy physical books, borrow them from your local library if they stock them or download digital copies to your iPad or Kindle device.
There is also a great app called Beelinguapp. Beelinguapp allows you to read foreign texts alongside your native language. They have everything, ranging from children’s books to the latest news stories.
Start with easier texts like children’s books and work your way up to more advanced materials. Once you are able to read and understand your language more fluently then you can start reading your favourite books or news sites in your target language. For example, If you are a fan of the Harry Potter or the Hunger Games or if BBC News is your go-to site to stay informed then you can read them all in the language you’re learning.
7. Listen to podcasts and music
Just like watching YouTube videos or watching foreign TV shows, you can also listen to podcasts in your target language. There are many language education channels you can listen to at home, in the car or catching the train to work. You can find these podcasts through any podcast app.
Everyone loves to listen to music. Our radios might be filled with songs from well-known pop stars, most of whom come from America, there are popular artists from everywhere else in the world. You can find your favourite genre of music in almost any language you are learning. If you are learning Icelandic you can find rock bands, pop singers and rappers singing in Icelandic. The same goes for Korean, Spanish, Chinese, Dutch and almost any other language you can think of. You can learn a lot about how a language is used and its culture from the lyrics of the music.
8. Change the language on your phone
A really simple way to practice reading and writing is to install the keyboard of the foreign language on your phone. You can also change the language setting on your phone which will automatically change the language on all your apps and internet browser too. You could also do this same thing on your computer. Just remember how to revert the language back if you need to.
A really great way to practice your language, both in reading and writing, is to start journalling. You can do this in so many different ways. You can write about your day like a diary, or you can just do revision on the things you learned that day. Writing about what you love and writing in a style that suits you will make it more enjoyable and make you want to continue doing it. Journalling in your target language is a great way to improve your grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and vocabulary. The more you journal the more you will understand how to use the language correctly, the better you will become and the faster you will learn the language of your choice.
10. Online language exchanges
We live in a time where you can connect and communicate with almost anyone, wherever they are in the world. We have this amazing resource that we can use without having to travel to another country to learn a new language. Because the world is so interconnected we can speak to natives over the internet from our laptop or phone. There are a lot of language exchange apps and sites to use.
Italki is an online language learning community where people wanting to learn a new language can connect with teachers and have 1 on 1 online language lessons over Skype.
Hellotalk is a smartphone app that allows you to text chat with native speakers. This is a great way to have more casual exchanges in your target language.