To have any hope at all of learning a language, you need to keep your motivation level high! This is one of the most important facts I’ve observed, yet it’s one I often forget. The problem is that motivation eventually dwindles over time, regardless of how much you started with. For some of the activities my team and I turn to when feeling discouraged, today we’re giving you 7 original methods to learn a language. Mixing up your learning activities is key to staying motivated. You can alternate between movies and podcasts, online courses and vocabulary exercises (with your MosaLingua app, for example :)) or books and web resources. You can also test new learning materials to see what keeps your interest and motivation alive.
I look at it this way: if you’re going on a trip and you realize that your gas tank is only going to last you 10 miles, you’ll be constantly thinking about it until you arrive at your destination. You’d hardly have time to enjoy your trip. Learning languages has become one of my passions, but I can’t deny that I’ve faced moments of discouragement. It’s totally normal – as long as we look for the cure.
7 Original Methods to Learn a Language (Video)
For a quick summary of our 7 original methods to learn a language with, watch this video we put together. You can watch it right here or on our YouTube channel.
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Seven Original Methods to Learn a Language
1. Casual conversations in a foreign language
The first method is one of the easiest for practicing the vocab you’ve been studying in real-life situations. While the internet offers countless methods to talk to natives (for example, language exchange websites and online chatting), you can have more casual chats with a real-life context.
If you’re learning useful expressions for booking a hotel in Spanish, you can call a resort in Mexico and inquire about a possible reservation. Just be sure not to give out your payment info, and tell them that you’ll call back. The possibilities are endless. Prepare a list of questions and type “yellow pages + Spanish” into Google, and you’ll get a list of numbers to try. Be careful: before you do this, make sure that your phone contract includes international calls. If not, you can always add credits to your Skype account. Skype is a very cheap option if your phone won’t dial internationally.
There are also lots of ways to meet native speakers of your target language in your own city. Mirari made a great video about places to find native speakers who might be interested in chatting with you.
2. Create a personalized reading list of news articles and blogs
Here’s a great method of enriching your vocabulary while staying entertained. There are many online services and apps that let you to subscribe to a list of blogs and newspapers. Personally, I use Feedly with Chrome or Firefox, and on my iPhone and tablet, my favorite app is Flipboard. The design is perfect, and it has many resources.
You can also use any of these websites to create your own daily reading list.
3. Listen to mp3s and podcasts while you exercise
Whenever I have a little free time, I try to look for new ways to optimize it. For instance, jogging and listening to podcasts or radio stations in the language I’m learning is a great way to stay active and practice at the same time.
I gave this technique a shot one day, and since then, my mp3 player is as important as my jogging shoes. I’ve downloaded a lot of podcasts in Spanish, and I’ve found 2-3 Mexican radio stations I like. So now each time I go jogging, I get some practice in as well – now I just need to get myself to jog more! 🙂
4. Play video games in a foreign language
While most video games come out in English, a lot of them are translated into other languages. Especially nowadays, nearly every PC or console game has foreign language options. Check out this article for a list of the best video games and how to use them to learn a foreign language. If you don’t have a console or a PC that runs fast enough, there are thousands of free games online. Do a Google search for “online games” (in your chosen language), and play the games that look most interesting to you.
5. Sing songs in a foreign language
As a huge music and language lover, I’ve already written a few articles on how to use songs to improve your language skills. It’s a very entertaining and rewarding method. Here are a few articles about learning a language with music:
- How to Learn a Language with Music in 5 Steps
- The Best Websites for Learning a Language with Music
- The Ten Best Songs for Learning Spanish
- Learn to Speak Italian with Songs by Andrea Bocelli
- How to Learn English with Music
6. Cook using video recipes in your chosen language
If you like cooking and are always looking for recipes from other countries, a great idea is to go on cooking blogs and websites in the language you’re learning. On most of these sites, you’ll find video recipes. Like method #3, this is a great way to multitask. Not only will you learn exotic recipes, but you will improve your listening skills and vocabulary.
Personally, I like the Italian site Giallo Zafferano and the French portal Marmiton. For other languages, just type “recipes” (in your target language) to find tons of nice sites. You’ll really impress your family and friends, and learn a foreign language at the same time!
7. Surround yourself with foreign language resources
Total immersion is hands-down one of the most effective methods of mastering another language. But not everybody has the option to travel abroad. Still, there are many resources for totally immersing yourself without even leaving home.
For example, you can change the language of your phone’s display, your browser, or your TV menu. Or you could read news in the language you’re learning. To give you some more ideas, I recommend reading this article: 5 Tips on Successfully Planning Your Foreign Language Study.
If you have your own ideas or know of any original methods to learn a language, let us know about them in the comments section!
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