When I was at school, I had intermittent lessons in Spanish, French and German. One thing I wasn’t taught however, was exactly how to learn a language effectively.
Sure, we had a teacher and notes and textbooks, but I do believe I only managed to scrape my B GCSE in German through my own learning at home. I’ve always enjoyed learning things by my own accord; whether it’s teaching myself all about WordPress and DA for blogging, all the way to practicing Spanish from the comforts of my own home.
In this post I want to show you guys how to learn a language without even leaving the house. It really is much easier than you think! Whether you want to be fully fluent in French in four months, or you just want to brush up on a few key phrases, here’s how to learn a language at home!
In preparation for our round the world trip next year, I’ve been trying to learn Spanish with the intention of being able to speak to at least a few people while we’re away. Here are a few of my favourite ways to learn a language without leaving the confides of my home.
Luckily for me, I’ve always been a huge book person, opting to read in any situation possible. As I’ve got older however, I find myself reading significantly less as the pressures of work, blogging, socialising and seeing family and friends take up the majority of my time.
Nevertheless, I truly believe that reading can really help when learning a new language. A great tip for finding foreign reading material that can help you to learn a language is picking your favourite book of all time in another language, and using that to practice.
Just reading a couple of pages each day can really help to ingrain some key words and phrases into your brain. It can also definitely help to make little notes for yourself for the phrases that you struggle with the most so that you know which ones you need to work on.
Duolingo is without a doubt my favourite way to learn Spanish. I’ve been using Duolingo for a few months now and I’ve been really loving the app.
It’s a free app that allows you to practice a plethora of languages including French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, plus much more! While I don’t think I’m ever going to become fully fluent using Duolingo as it’s more of an interactive ‘game’ style app, it is remarkably fun and easy to use.
You can set yourself daily targets of how much you want to practice each day and you can learn key phrases in travel, restaurant, family and work categories, as well as learning key greetings and phrases.
I try and use it almost every single day whenever I have a spare five minutes. It’s a great alternative to sitting on Instagram or Twitter on your daily commute because not only is it fun and interactive, but you’ll also pick up some great language skills!
Change the language settings in your phone and use Siri (or Cortana)
One of my very good friends and ex-colleagues, Katie, is pretty fluent in Spanish and I remember when I first started working with her, I thought it was so strange that she had changed the Siri settings in her iPhone to Spanish.
However, I quickly realised that this is such a clever way to practice learning a language as you get to hear exactly what the words sound like instead of just reading them and potentially butchering the pronunciation!
Watch TV in another language (or with subtitles)
I haven’t actually put this method of learning a language into practice yet as I really don’t like watching TV with subtitles on. However, I’ve heard that this can be a truly effective way of learning another language without even leaving the house!
If you watch a film you know very well in a different language with subtitles on then you can enjoy watching a movie while learning a new skill. It may take a little getting used to at first, but once you’ve done it a few times, you’re sure to be well on your way to becoming fluent in no time!
Use Google Translate to learn a few new phrases
Whenever Matt and I visit somewhere new, I always make a conscious effort to look up a few key phrases before we travel. Simple greetings and pleasantries such as ‘hello, ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ always go a long way when visiting new places as the locals will appreciate your efforts.
I honestly think that us Brits are incredibly ignorant when it comes to visiting new places as we just expect everyone to be able to speak English. This isn’t always the case however, so it can really make a difference to your travel experience if you learn just a few new phrases.
If I’m feeling particularly fancy, I’ll use Google Translate to search for the all-important words and phrases such as ‘pizza’ and ‘white wine spritzer’…
Listen to foreign podcasts or music
One of our very good friends is from Germany and before he came over to live in England for a while, he told us that a lot of Germans listen to music in English so that they can learn the language much quicker.
This method of learning another language is considered to be remarkably successful as you get to enjoy listening to your favourite songs in another language, while getting to know the foreign version of them.
Podcasts can also be a very effective way of learning a language as there’s an abundance of topics to choose from in other languages.
Try and practice every single day
It’s suggested that it takes approximately 21 days to learn a new habit so if you apply this theory to learning a new language, you should be well on your way to speaking in another language in no time!
As I mentioned before, I try and make the effort to practice my Spanish every single day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. The likes of Duolingo are absolutely perfect for bite-sized learning of a new language as you can complete small tasks in short chunks of time. Practicing your chosen language every day for just a couple of minutes can really pay off in the long run, especially if you’re only wanting to learn a number of key phrases.
Have you ever tried to learn a language at home? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @imjustagirl_16.