5 Ways to Enhance Your Language Learning Between Lessons

A blonde woman sitting on a white couch reading a blue book that's been translated into another language to supplement her language training

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Language learning is a journey that requires dedication and consistent effort. Formal lessons with a tutor are essential, but what you do between lessons can greatly impact your progress. Fortunately, there are many fun and effective (and free!) ways to improve your language skills outside of scheduled classes. Here are five ways to promote language learning in your spare time. 

  1. Read Translated Books

One way to improve your language skills is by reading books in your target language. Reading is a great way to learn new phrases, idiomatic expressions, and nuances. You can start reading something you’re familiar with, like a translated version of your favorite book or something simple like a children’s book. You can then move to something more complex as your proficiency improves, exploring authors who write in the language you’re learning. Comic books or graphic novels are another good place to start because visual aids can help give you clues as to the context. 

Another approach with books is immersion reading. Once you’ve settled on a book you want to read, you can read along while you listen to its audiobook. However, translated books are often not done word-for-word, which could result in an audiovisual disconnect. The most efficient way to use immersion reading is to pair the audiobook with the original text to help pick up on nuances and improve comprehension. For example, in Spanish, porque and por qué sound the same but have different meanings. Porque means because, and por qué means why. 

  1. Watch Movies/TV with Subtitles

Watching movies or TV in your target language is an entertaining and effective way to improve your listening comprehension. Start with subtitles in your native language, and as you become more proficient, switch to subtitles in your target language. This will help connect spoken words with their written forms and improve your pronunciation and understanding of the language's rhythm and tone. Pay attention to context and body language, as these cues can help you understand dialogue better. 

  1. Create a Playlist in Your Target Language

Music is a universal language, and immersing yourself in songs in your target language can be a fun and engaging way to learn. Create a playlist of songs in genres you already like in the language you're studying. Listen to the lyrics, try to sing along, and look up the meaning of unfamiliar words or phrases. Music exposes you to vocabulary and pronunciation and helps you grasp the cultural nuances of the language. 

You can also look up the lyrics to help guide you as you listen. Have them pulled up so you can follow along and see how the words you’re hearing are spelled. This is incredibly helpful for visual learners. 

A study from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland found that singing can help facilitate language learning. Sixty adults participated in the study, which involved 15 minutes of listening to Hungarian phrases and then repeating the phrases normally or through song. When the participants were tested on the material, researchers discovered those who used singing scored higher. 

  1. Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are a fantastic resource for language learners. An almost infinite number of podcasts are available in various languages, covering a wide range of topics. Whether you're interested in history, comedy, true crime, or, you guessed it, language, you can find podcasts that interest you. 

You can listen to podcasts on almost any platform, and they usually have the option to slow down or speed up the audio. This can be especially helpful as native speakers tend to talk quickly. 

Listening to podcasts regularly helps improve your listening skills, expand your vocabulary, and keep you updated on current events and trends in your target language's community. They’re also free, and you can listen to them anywhere. Cooking dinner? Throw on a podcast about the German language. At the grocery store? Listen to one in French about science. Your options are endless!  

  1. Listen to TED Talks

TED Talks are speeches by experts in various fields. You can find a speech for almost any topic imaginable – whether it’s science, literature, history, art, or education. Many TED Talks are available in multiple languages (and often include an interactive transcript), which makes them an excellent resource for language learners. Choose talks that interest you and are available in both your native language and your target language. Start by watching them with subtitles, and then challenge yourself to watch them without subtitles as your language skills improve.  

Language learning is not limited to formal lessons. By incorporating these five methods into your daily routine, you can enhance your language skills between lessons in a fun and engaging way. Consistency is key, so try to make language learning a part of your daily life. Schedule some time each day or each week for language learning, and over time, you'll find that these activities improve your language proficiency and deepen your understanding of the culture associated with the language. 

Ready to start your language journey? Let us know! Global LT will find you the best teacher anywhere in the world.

This blog post was written by Megan Tully, Marketing Manager.

 

 

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