There’s nothing quite like setting out to learn a new language, opening up Duolingo, and then leaving it to fall by the wayside as the Duolingo owl berates you for being too busy to learn a language. We’ve all been there when we think about trying to pick up a new language, so what’s the solution? How can we easily add language learning into our daily lives?
I will hold my hands up and say that I have done this many many times: I started out trying to learn Korean on Duolingo but it just wasn’t working, and I realised that maybe that wasn’t the best way to learn a new language.
The most important thing is to actively want to learn the language, and with this you need to find a way that will make you enjoy learning rather than seeing language as another chore to cram into a busy life.
My favourite way to implement language learning into my daily routine is foreign language TV shows. This is a great way to learn more useful phrases that are actually said in the target language, and you get to bypass the more old-fashioned language learning which is oftentimes outdated, or doesn’t prepare you to actually be able to talk to a native speaker. Watching foreign language TV shows makes me want to actively start to learn more of the language so I can rely less on the subtitles and be more immersed in the show. It’s also a great way to have a gateway into the grammar of the language, without it being a tedious grammar book with 50 exercises on the past historic or subjunctive!
Another very simple way to expand your vocabulary is TikTok or Instagram – this seems like a bizarre concept as there is so much narrative about keeping off social media, but it is actually a great way to get short snippets of vocabulary and grammar without it feeling like you need to sit down and dedicate hours to the task. There are many TikToks and Instagram reels that can help with pronunciation, accompanied with funny videos and engaging content that help you actually remember words and vocabulary. Here are some more easy but highly effective way I have found to implement language learning into your daily routine:
Podcasts. Whether you’re shopping, tidying or just out for a wander, podcasts are a great accompaniment and a quick search on Spotify can find you beginners, intermediate and advanced levels of any language.
Sticky Notes around the House! This may seem silly, but the amount of time we spend brushing our teeth can even be put towards language learning! A few sticky notes on the mirror or sticky notes of household objects around the house will improve your language skills as you go about your daily life, without it feeling like an extra chore.
Music. Add some foreign language artists into your Spotify playlist!
Flashcards. This does seem less exciting than some of the other suggestions, but 5 minutes of vocab flashcards a day will really help quickly and effectively increase your vocabulary.
The key thing to adding language learning into your daily life is to go little by little and keep it fun!
Author: Daisy Wright, Olea Ambassador.