Have you ever wondered how you can make language learning almost second nature? I have too! I am going to show you what has worked for me so far.
Set Goals You Can Actually See Yourself Accomplishing
This happens so often when it comes to not only just learning languages but goals in general. We (or least I do!) tend to try to plan something out so far in advance with generalised details that I’ve made it into something impossible to accomplish. Or if I do accomplish it, it’s only done half-heartedly or important step has been severely looked over which caused ended up creating an unwanted outcome.
Break your goal down until it’s so simple that you can actually DO SOMETHING that will accelerate your language learning to the next level. I like to keep a bunch of “to do” lists to keep myself on track with how I go about learning languages. Once I’ve created this habit I would review each item on the list to make sure it can be incorporated into a daily routine.
Have a look at your list and ask yourself:
Are what’s listed doable? What could be added and what could be removed or expanded upon?
Discard anything that seems too spontaneous or unrealistic for you to achieve. What’s the point of having goals that are unattainable? I’m guilty of doing this myself! Unrealistic goals lead nowhere and can’t be completed because you can’t see yourself actually doing the task at hand.
Have A Flexible Learning Routine
Because let’s face it how many times can we learn the same content before it becomes dull and demotivating? I noticed that if I focus too often on the same lessons repeatedly, expecting to learn something new it’s just not going to happen. Find something new that engages your interests or could be beneficial to learn how to do/say in your target language. If something no longer interests you, move on to something that does. Why learn about things that have no interest or use to you?
Learn how to discuss what you would normally say in your natively in your target language! Can you tell people about your passions in the same or very similiar way as you could in the new language?
Mix it up. Don’t just listen to the lyrics passively but actively learn the words and phrases from the song and then learn how to sing it. My problem is that I will find songs I like in my target language but I don’t bother actually to learn the meanings of the lyrics. While I will be able to pick up on things gradually as my language skills improve. More often then not, I don’t end up learning the lyrics at all.
I found a great site that helps you learn languages through lyrics to a selection of songs in their library.
Regularly Record Your Language Progress
This is something I’m horrible at doing or at least lately anyway. I used to proactively keep a blog in Japanese to not only practise but also track my progress in Japanese. I would look at older entries I’ve made in Japanese and realised that I have improved a lot since I first started seriously learning Japanese in 2008. Unfortunately, I ended abandoning that blog as time passed.
My original intent when I opened my YouTube channel also back in 2008 (on my birthday too!) was to practise languages I was learning but that has been an utter failure or rather I would have a bunch of videos without any decent content and to be honest, didn’t need to be made in the first place. This year I’ve decided to be more active on about posting content on my channel.
Which I have and I’m glad I took the initiative to do so. However, I need to actually use it to actually practise what I’ve learnt instead of just posting videos about languages and travelling (which I will still do by the way!). Another platform which I wouldn’t even have thought of using was Instagram to learn new vocabulary whilst taking photos or even just taking a quick video of yourself speaking the language.
Use Social Media and Mobile Apps
Since we’re so technologically advanced these days, why not use the mobile apps you have to learn your target language. If you can change the language settings for the app (ex: Facebook) to your target language (if available) you can immerse yourself while simply using your mobile device. Some apps I have installed are Anki(Spaced Repetition e-Flashcards), iLingQ and Memrise to keep learning new things. I also have Kanji writing apps for Japanese so that way I can refresh my knowledge of the Kanji I already and learn new ones as well. (Using my fingers to draw out the Kanji). I will be finding more for German and Catalan as well.
Which tools do you incorporate into your regular language learning routine? Do you have a routine for learning language? How do you keep track of your progress? I’d love to hear from you!