20 Strategies to Fit Language Learning into your Busy Life!

So many people say they would like to learn a language, however the number of people who actually go ahead and do it is much lower. Why? The main reason is probably working out how to fit it into your already busy schedule. Well a few things to bear in mind which could persuade you to start learning a language are:-

  • You do not need to know every word in the language to be fluent or even to get by.
  • You only need to learn 2,500-3,000 to use it effectively.
  • The key is to focus on what you are actually going to need to know.
  • You don’t need to learn too much grammar, vocabulary is more important in the beginning stages.
  • You only need to spend 15-20 minutes a day focused on language learning to make good progress. Little and often is the key.

So this blog post is aimed “busy” people who may not have hours spare to learn a language.

20 ideas to build language-learning activities into your daily life:

First thing in the morning or last thing at night

The best time to build language-learning into your busy life is either first thing in the morning when you wake up or last thing at night before you go to bed. Wake up Babe iphone app allows you to set it so that new foreign words are spoken as the alarm goes off.

1. Use the dead time in your day to do short language learning activities – using an app on the bus to work, listen to a CD whilst driving or listen to a song while you are cooking or cleaning.

2. Set your laptop settings to the language including facebook. This way you are seeing the language used all the time.

3. Find someone else who is learning the language and set up a little competition. This will keep you motivated to keep learning and improving.

4. How long do you spend on Youtube? – why not spend some of that time watching a video, an interview, a TV show in the target language.

5. Read a bilingual book or magazine either before bed, in the morning, in a break at work or keep it in your car when waiting for someone.

6. Record a video for Instagram of yourself speaking the language, even if it is a few short sentences.

7. Write about your day in your language-learning diary.

8. Read an article in a foreign newspaper.

9. Listen to a news programme online.

10. Learn two key sentences in the target language:
e.g. How do you say …?
e.g. How much is it?

11. Label a room in your house with the names of furniture and other items in the language.

12. Change your sat nav system to the target language. This will really help you understand directions on your next trip abroad.

13. Send a message to your language exchange partner. Ask them a question about their day.

14. Search for and join a new facebook group community of people who are learning the same language as you.

15. Listen to a recording on Forvo, the pronunciation dictionary with a huge library of different recordings in different languages. This is perfect for pronunciation practice.

16. Practise numbers: for example think of how you would say the price when you are paying in a shop. When you are driving try to read out the number plate in front of you in the target language. Say what the time is.

17. Talk to yourself or think to yourself in the language. Work out if you know all the words and can say what you are thinking. Or listen to conversations around you and think how you would say those things in the language you are learning.

18. Read over your old notes. It is always good to refresh things you haven’t visited for a long time.

19. Use a language-learning app for 10 minutes a day. Duolingo and Memrise are great as they keep a score for you and send you messages if you don’t do your daily activity.

20. Use flashcard app like Anki. It uses spaced repetition which means it shows you the words you don’t know well more often and those words you are more confident with less often. Clever, right?

As you can see there are many quick activities you can do during your day just to keep your language-learning ticking over nicely. You don’t have to spend hours studying in a traditional way to keep progressing. Short, but regular sessions are ideal for language learning!

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