5 everyday hacks to help you learn a language
Effective language learning just doesn’t happen in a classroom. For lifelong language skills, research shows that immersing yourself in the language is key. This can mean studying abroad and being part of a community of native speakers, but there are also some easy changes that you can make in your everyday life that will help immerse you.
Here are five of our favorite easy hacks to help you learn a language.
Change your phone language
This hack is super simple. On average, we spend more than five hours per day on our mobile phones. That’s a lot of time that you could be exposing yourself to another language.
Simply try switching your phone’s language settings to the one that you’re currently learning. It’ll help you get to grips with useful words that you see every day — like the date, or the weather — and it’ll prompt you to think in that language and problem-solve every time you get a notification. BRB, changement de langue…
Read kid’s books and YA fiction
Reading is a great way to help you recognise correct grammar, sentence structure and spelling. Trying to read an intense mystery novel straight away won’t help, as the language used will likely be too complicated. However, children’s books and young adult (YA) fiction are a really useful place to start. Kids books are literally designed to help children learn to read and write. They expertly explore basics like the past, present and future tenses, and also the masculine and feminine elements of gendered languages such as French or Spanish.
When you’re ready to level up, YA novels have interesting plots and strong characters, but are still written in a slightly simpler language that makes them easier for younger audiences to understand — perfect for language learners.
Listen to beginner podcasts
Another fantastic way to improve your spoken grammar and pronunciation is to listen to podcasts in the language you’re studying. Whether you’re learning to parler en Français, Deutsch sprechen, or to speak English, there are lots of free podcasts designed for speakers of any ability.
As your language skills improve, you could try listening to celebrity interviews, or short daily news podcasts which will help you discuss current affairs (bound to make you look and feel smarter). So, grab your headphones; This is a great option for when you’re catching the bus or train to class, going for a walk, or catching up with chores around the house.
Follow native-speaking influencers
The great thing about this hack is that you can really make it suit your interests. Whether you’re into travel, beauty, fashion, film, science, or technology, look for native-speaking influencers in those sectors to follow on social media. Next time you open TikTok or Instagram, you’ll learn while enjoying their content! It can help you perfect things like regional accents and modern colloquialisms. Plus, you’ll hear lots of specific vocabulary which will help if you want to chat to friends about that interest, or even to get a job in that industry. Win, win, win.
Watch Netflix in the language you’re learning
Ready to improve your foreign language pronunciation and practice following a conversation? Try Netflix and Learning! (It’ll catch on eventually.) Watching TV can totally count as language-learning homework, and there are a few ways that you can use it. Sitcoms are particularly good for understanding social norms and different national senses of humor. For example, you might see more sarcasm in English shows, and more slapstick comedy in American ones.
Start by watching your favorite show in your new language but with subtitles on; You’ll already know what’s going on, but you can follow the dialogue in real-time as both speech and text. Then choose a show that’s been created in the language you are learning. When you’re feeling more confident, turn the subtitles off.