Today I would like to discuss something that has been on my mind when re-evaluating the way I learn languages. In recent years, I’ve had more or less a set style when it comes to learning languages. For a while I thought keep a steady pace for each language and it was working for a while. Just before my trip back to Japan in 2012, I would say my Japanese has improved tremendously compared to when I was in Japan in 2008.
However, I felt like I wasn’t getting enough speaking practice so last year I decided to do the italki Language Challenge for the first time. It was incredibly beneficial when it came to speaking, especially since I was at a point of being able to understand most of what was being said to be but I couldn’t put it into words. I was immersing myself in Japanese and German inconsistency prior to actually meeting a tutor on Skype via italki. Now I feel like my system, method or what have you has decide to free-fall off into the abyss.
How Spontaneous Can You Be Without Falling Off The Band Wagon?
It’s important to mix things up so you’re not constantly learning the same thing over and over again without progressing further. Some repetition isn’t bad but when you’re only focused on the the same materials for several weeks or even months, it’s time to switch things up. Otherwise, the boredom sets in and your motivation dies tragically.
A fresh perspective on learning languages is what I need and thanks to the Instagram Language Challenge started by LindsayDoesLanguages, I feel like this is exactly what I needed to not only motivate myself but learning vocabulary and phrases through pictures and photos using an unconventional resource: Instagram! Which seemed so obvious seeing as use Facebook and Twitter to share content about language learning to inspire others. So I figured why not?
As a result, I was able to learn new vocabulary I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. I wasn’t able to complete all the prompt for this month, so hopefully this month I’ll be able to complete them all. Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with what I’m learning for this month’s challenge! It is Japanese again so if you’re learning Japanese, you’ll definitely want to check it out.
I often use YouTube, Vimeo, Veoh, etc for inspiration. Whether it’s a video about specific subject I’m interested in, singing along to music video with lyrics (in the privacy of my own bedroom. I wouldn’t dare subject others to my awful singing voice.) , or even challenging myself by reading a comic, news article or book in my target language online. However, it’s not consistent in my language studies but it does prevent me from giving up.
Just Jump Right In
Sometimes in order to get back into learning languages is to just jump right into it! Taking action has helped me continue to incorporate languages into my everyday life. Keeping things consistent is what I am going to challenge myself with this month so that way they don’t get pushed to the side. Spontaneity keeps things fresh and prevents burnout (more or less anyway)! It’s absolutely vital to keep things simple when we make learning our target language too intense.
This is probably this reason why I wasn’t able to immerse myself effectively in my target languages because I wasn’t discovering what’s out there. Instead of using the same materials over and over and sometimes at the same exact time everyday. It was starting to feel like déjà vú, which was quite demotivating to say the least.
How do you like to switch things up when it comes to learning languages? Do you have set method to incorporate new material to learn off of or do you immerse yourself spontaneously! I’d love to hear your thoughts!