Making your language learning engaging is essential for staying motivated! Here’s how to integrate your favourite activities into your learning time.
Ways to supplement your language learning:
Listen to music
Did you ever sing a song or create a jingle to memorise something? As it turns out, music is a powerful educational tool that can help with memory through repetition and catchy melodies.
Most songs have a repetitive structure that makes it easy to commit new vocabulary to memory. Start by creating a playlist of songs exclusively in the language you’re learning and then follow along. Once you’ve got the words down, try singing along to get more comfortable speaking your new language! Singing with music is also good pronunciation practice since accents are more forgiving in songs.
It’s normal to zone out to music — especially in another language — so really focus on active listening. You can also supplement your listening by reading the song text to see if you can decipher any unfamiliar words.
Watch TV and movies
Watching movies and TV in another language can be equally entertaining and educational. For starters, films and shows have a lot to teach learners about language and society. They provide a relevant social backdrop to language that textbooks often miss, especially in terms of cultural norms.
Next, on-screen dialogues can help prepare you for real conversations, especially in terms of phrases and talking speed. You’ll encounter colloquial phrases here that you wouldn’t find elsewhere on your learning journey.
If you’re just starting with a new language, try watching a simpler movie with subtitles (in the language you’re learning!). Jot down any unfamiliar words, then incorporate them into your daily practice.
More information on learning with TV and movies can be found on Babbel Magazine.
Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are centred around active listening, which is incredibly useful for language learning. Listening to a podcast will challenge you to understand without any visual cues.
Better yet, entire podcast series are made for the sole purpose of language learning. Babbel produces several podcast that uses the art of storytelling to introduce new vocabulary in various conversational contexts. If you’re an intermediate to advanced learner, listening to podcasts is an easy way to keep yourself immersed in another language — the more you surround yourself with a language, the better.
You can also take podcasts with you pretty much everywhere you go, so give one a listen while you’re commuting to work or doing some chores around the house!
For more information, here’s the complete guide to using podcasts in language learning.
Using YouTube and social media
Unless you consume a lot of online video already, you’re likely overlooking YouTube as a learning resource. Like films and TV shows, YouTube can give you a great peek inside how a language is used every day. YouTubers speak at a conversational pace and cover a variety of topics, so there are videos for every learner.
More broadly, social media is bursting with language-learning content just waiting to be found. Follow an account or a blog of someone learning the same language as you. Fill your news feed with posts from foreign media outlets or jokes in your new language.
Besides, social media isn’t a one-way street: It lets you connect with people from all over the world. Reach out to fellow language learners in online forums and find a virtual tandem partner!
Want more inspiration? Here’s more information on finding an online learning community.