language learning

5 Ways to Learn A Language in Your Spare Time

Knowing a second language is a great asset. It can lead to better career opportunities and improve your brain function. However, learning to speak a new language can seem overwhelming. Most people do not have days or even hours to spend learning their target language.

 

The good news is that you can learn a new language without quitting your day job. By integrating some easy strategies into your spare time, you will become bilingual in no time. Do you have 20 minutes a day, or even just five? If the answer is yes, you have exactly what you need to reach you language learning goals.

 

1

Duolingo

There’s an app for everything today. Language learning is no different. While many promise results, few are as comprehensive and accessible as Duolingo.

 

Duolingo covers all the bases of language learning–reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This gamified platform keeps you motivated and engaged. Set a daily goal and track your progress.

 

This is microlearning at its finest and it really works!

 

2

Watch videos in target language

Watching your favorite television show may be the way you unwind at the end of a long day. Television and movies is an excellent way to learn a language because you will learn by immersion, the same way babies learn language.

 

Video streaming services such as Amazon offer a variety of movies and television series in many languages. (Listening to radio or a podcast is also a great way to learn, however having the visuals of a show really helps in the learning process) Find one you enjoy and start to learn without trying.

 

3

Join a Facebook group

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a resource for connecting people around the world. Aside from learning the latest news and marketing your business, Facebook can be a way to learn new skills, like a new language. Many groups exist for language learners to interact with each other and practice.

 

This method takes only minutes a day, but give you real world experience for free, without leaving your home. Simply search for a conversation group in your target language, for instance “French learners conversation group.”

 

4

Play a game

Learning should be fun! Playing a game, whether virtual or a good old fashioned board game is a perfect way to practice language skills and pick up new vocabulary. Try playing a classic, like Uno, but use your new color and number vocabulary. Or, find a game produced in the target language and play your way to your learning goal.

 

5

Read in the target language

It may seem that reading is something that comes late in language learning, however reading in the target language is the best way to learn vocabulary in context and also develop an understanding of grammar.

 

Start small, as in kids books, and work your way up from there. Reading for just a short time each day will really boost your learning efforts and give you greater confidence in conducting conversation. It will also teach you everyday language and cultural norms.

 

Do you have a goal of learning a new language in 2018? Have any tips to share?

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and purchase through these links, a small compensation will go toward supporting Global Learn Day!

 

 


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Five Reasons to Learn Another Language

Our world is shrinking. Not the physical world, but our connectedness and interdependence is bringing the far reaches of our planet right to our door step.  Global commerce and increased ease of travel, not to mention virtual communication, are creating a future where circumnavigating the globe will not only be possible at lightening speed, but necessary to maintain business and political relations on a daily basis.

Google Translate Is All I Need

With advances in Artificial Intelligence and intuitive software, the ability of computer generated translation has skyrocketed.  New programs are able to translate in real time via voice recognition. This leads many to believe that learning a second or third language is obsolete.

Just as understanding of geography and map skills should never be replaced with reliance on GPS systems, learning a foreign language can never be usurped by an app on your phone.  Technology has limitations. Even the best software will not be correct 100% of the time.  In addition, technology can fail due to user error, loss of power, or computer viruses.

The need for another language is growing, not shrinking. Here are five reasons why you should start to learn a new language today!

  1. Job Prospects: Knowing a second language has huge career advantages.  It not only makes you more employable, leading to greater choice of jobs in a difficult economy, being bi-lingual provides for higher salaries as well.  Employees able to speak more than one language are great assets to companies competing in the global marketplace.
  2. Brain Power: Learning something new is the best exercise for your brain. Moreover, language learning is the apex of brain development. Learning another language not only flexes your gray matter to keep it in top shape, it helps to stave off brain related disease such as Alzheimer and Dementia. By creating an infrastructure of multiple neural pathways, learning and using a second language has been show to push off development of brain disorders by over 4.5 years!
  3. Cultural Understanding: Learning the language of a country or region not only opens doors of communication but immerses you in the nuances of the culture. Language is a living organism. It grows, changes, and adapts to the ways and history of the people who speak it.  By learning the language, you will understand the people’s culture and be more able to interrelate on a personal level.  You will become integrated into the experience instead of just looking from the outside in!
  4. Understand Your Native Tongue: Since a first language is always acquired organically, the use of grammar is something that is understood and rarely analyzed. However, by studying a second language, you will gain an appreciation and proficiency in your native language that cannot be learned otherwise.  This leads to better communication in both languages and improved writing and reading skills.
  5. Build Bridges to New Gateways Where could another language take you? Anywhere you want!  Our technology affords us the opportunity to travel without passport or plane ticket. Features such as Skype, Facebook, and Youtube open the door to the world–a rich world full of endless learning possibilities.  Language learning is the key to this pathway, for if you get to the door but don’t know the secret password (in this case understanding to the target language) even the best technology will leave you out in the cold.

As One Planet, One People, let’s work for not only greater interdependence but greater understanding.  Learning is not a one way street. What you learn not only enriches your life, but connects you to others and builds bridges.

To where will you build a bridge today?

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