5 tips to fit more language learning into your life

foreign-languages

I know, I know – you’re busy, I’m busy, the whole world is busy.

I feel like I spend most days in a battle with the neverending to-do list, rushing from one task to the next while new things I have to do get added.

The fact is, life is busy and it isn’t always easy to fit in studying another language, particularly if you’re not living somewhere where it is widely spoken.

Here are a few tips which might help you to squeeze in just a little bit more language learning every day!

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1. Label everything

Yes, I mean everything! If you stick labels on items around your house in your target language, you will pick up a lot from constant exposure. It doesn’t have to just be single words but could be grammar or sentence structures which will come in handy.

I don’t do this so much any more but papered my apartment in Japan when I was first studying Japanese and did the same when I and my boyfriend first moved to China. I got in a few minutes of revision whilst cooking, washing up or brushing my teeth!

If you are studying one of the ten languages on my multilingual flashcards, feel free to print them out and stick them around to help you learn your language faster!


2. Podcasts are your friend

There are so many amazing (and free!) podcasts out there. Even the sites which have a subscription charge (e.g. Japanese pod 101, etc) often post free podcasts once a week, etc so you can download them and keep them for as long as you like (check out my Language Learning resources pages for links to lots of great channels). I have some loaded onto my phone and stick them on in the background while I’m walking, doing the groceries, doing housework, etc. This time really does add up to some substantial learning.


3. Check out your library

Most libraries have language courses on CD which you can borrow – or borrow digitally from the comfort of your home. Some libraries also have subscription services which allow you to download audiobooks in other languages. This is a fantastic way to get a bit of language learning into your day, particularly if you are already familiar with the story or have a copy that you can read-along with.

I can still practically recite the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Japanese!


4. Watch more TV

Obviously, in your target language!

At the beginning you may need subtitles in your first language to help, but, if possible, put the subtitles in your target language – for everything, even media you are consuming in your first language.

Once you’ve watched something, watch it again, have it on in the background as you do other things – if you want to use music, TV or other media as a learning resource rather than just as a source of relaxation, you need to listen to it numerous times. After each rewatch/listen, use a dictionary to find ~10 words you picked out and learn them. Soon you will be understanding a lot more which will give you a confidence boost!

An added bonus is that, even before you reach a higher level of fluency, you will be training your ear for the natural rhythm and patterns of the language which will help you sound much more natural when you speak.


5. Play mobile games

There are lots of free games available, some better than others – download a few and give them a go. Even if you only play for five minutes a day while on your daily commute or before bed, it is still a little bit of extra language learning squished into your day. I love the Duolingo app,for example, and it allows you to study multiple languages!


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These tips should help you squeeze a bit more language learning into your day. You could also use these tips for other skills you want to learn too!

Unfortunately, if you really want to get better at your target language rather than just maintaining your current level, you will need some dedicated study too.

Still, some study is better than none and we all have to start somewhere!


How do you fit language learning into your daily routine?

Do you have any tips which help you get a bit more into your day?

What is your favourite activity to do when learning a new language?

Let me know in the comments!


While you’re here, why not check out some unique words in other languages or untranslatable words? I love these and they are great fun to use!

Remind yourself of why you’re learning another language by reading about how being bilingual keeps your brain fit? (Don’t worry, the benefits kick in long before you’re completely bilingual!)

Check out my book review for A Fish in Foreign Waters, a lovely picture book which teaches children that being bilingual is a positive!


Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram


Thanks for reading!

25 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve just started learning Italian, and as I learn a new section I find it helpful to repeat it in random moments e.g. when I’m trying to go to sleep. I’m considering giving DuoLingo a go ๐Ÿ˜Š
    Amy x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Repeating it is a great way to learn – also recording yourself reading something or repeating whole sentences aloud along with the speaker, they are all helpful. Duolingo is really fun! It isn’t enough alone for learning a new language but is a good way to get a few more minutes of study in and learn some new vocabulary. I like how it doesn’t limit how many languages you can do! x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. savageddt says:

    Thanks for this. Being Afrikaans means I know most dutch words, but over there they use certain words for different occasions. I have found it difficult to get the grammer right. Example: we have one word for possession “het”, where they use het for “the” as in what is the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some of my friend in the past told me that, while they could understand each other, both the people speaking Dutch and those speaking Afrikaans, thought the other sounded a bit weird or old-fashioned! Still, it’s quite cool that you have the keys to another language already firmly in your grasp!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. KD says:

    Watching TV and listening to music in the target language is so useful. It’s amazing what you can pick up that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have picked up loads of new vocabulary as well as natural ways of saying things, including filler words like ‘Let’s see…’ or ‘Um…’ It also gives you such a nice feeling when you understand something that you didn’t in the past!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. KD says:

        Yes! Lol

        Like

  4. ernie1786 says:

    This is a great read! How do you both keep consistantโ€‹ on your blog and build followers and stay consistent with language learning?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest, some days I am better than others. This month has been a very busy one in work so language learning has been reduced. I try to use timeboxing (where you do something until a certain time, then stop regardless of where you get to), to-do lists and bullet journalling to keep me on track. I also have a set routine when I come in from work-cook dinner while listening to language podcast, exercise, shower, eat, relax for a bit, blog, then work and reading before bed. When I have school holidays I schedule lots of posts too! How do you fit everything in?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ernie1786 says:

        I havenโ€™t actually been doing any language learning lately other than listening to some old Mandarin Chinese and Russian vocal audio. In my car for 5 minuets or so. I need to get back to it. Pimsler used to be a fun way to be consistent 30 minuets a day on my drive to work then I learn songs in my target language and listen for new words and expand vocabulary that way. Feel free to check out my blog on my methodology when I was learning in Russia!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I will have a look, thank you! Pimsleur is great to stick on in the background whilst driving, walking or doing chores. I also really like podcasts for that too. I remember reading once that a language needs around 30 minutes a day to maintain and at least an hour to improve so really need to get some more time in this month!

        Like

  5. Watching tv in a different language is so helpful! Especially a show you well so that you have context ๐Ÿ™‚ loved this post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Hope it was helpful! It is also an enjoyable way to fit in a bit more of your target language ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  6. noblepen says:

    Nice article! Thanks for sharing the tips.
    You can check out my latest article on Language Learning too ๐Ÿ™‚ Here it is https://unpluggedcreations.com/language-learning-tips-blog-unplugged-creations/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I will have a look!

      Like

  7. Elena says:

    I am lucky since I’m learning the language of the country I currently live, so there are plenty of opportunities to pick up new stuff. Watching TV and reading non-fiction help a lot. Currently though I’m a bit stuck with my self-studies. I speak my target language at work and at home, write emails, etc. But I know I make mistakes and I know I need keep pushing further. So currently looking for inspiration to take the studies further. Thanks for the article! All tips are great:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment! It sounds like you are lucky enough to have lots of input in your target language as well as opportunities to use it – could you get a few language buddies or even a colleague at work who is willing to pick out 5 mistakes you make in a day and tell you how to fix them? I did find the same, when I was working in my TL, that many people don’t bother correcting you as long as they know what you mean!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Elena says:

        That’s a good idea ๐Ÿ™‚ I usually ask my husband, who is a native speaker, to correct my mistakes. When he remembers to do so, he is super excited, corrects everything I say and it pisses me off, hehe ๐Ÿ™‚ As for my colleagues, well, I have to try, but I don’t think I’ll succeed. Finns know that their language is hardcore and they are extremely respectful of people trying to learn it. The other side of this is that they will never ever correct you and if you have difficulties remembering a word or the right form of the verb, they will switch to English to make it easier for you. Maybe though I can find a volunteer ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the tip!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do think it’s good to give the person a limit e.g. pick 5 mistakes in a day. Otherwise, you will have the same problem as with your husband! Hope it helps and kudos to you for learning a language which is known to be difficult!

        Like

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