Learning a new language can open up a new realm of opportunities, from making new friends and career advancements to simply ordering your favorite beer while on holiday. The thought of learning a new language may be overwhelming to some, but with small goals and a little help from our guide, you would be surprised how much you can pick up in a short period of time!
Fun and addictive, Duolingo is a language learning platform that’s widely available on desktop, android and IOS. It offers bite size lessons which are easy to digest, whether it’s during an ad break or on your daily commute, using rewards, new levels and fluency score to motivate it’s users to learn over 23 languages. Impressively, Duolingo claims that 34 hours of their programme is equal to 1 university semester of a language course.
Make your studying more fun by incorporating music into your learning plan, whether it be classic Italian opera or Braziallian boy bands. Singing your new favourite melodies is an easy way to memorise lyrics and words which can then be translated. Start off by finding the lyrics first as it’s difficult to unlearn words that have been ‘improvised’ by yourself into the song, then compare with the English version and gradually build up from lines to verses.
Apps such as Bilingua, connect you with other users who are fluent in the language you are learning. If you are struggling for topics, Shiro, the Bilingua Bot is able to help guide conversations based on your interests and current topics, as well as correcting any mispronunciations in your translation! Similarly, networking apps such as Meet Up can connect you with people or groups with the same interests; this includes groups who meet weekly (either in person or virtually) to speak in the language of their choice whether it be French or Klingon.
Memory is key when learning a new language so the repetition of common words and incorporating them into your daily routine will make sure the language will stick in your head (and your housemates). Try sticking post-it notes on your most commonly used items in the house, from cups to toothbrushes. Once you have learned the basics, switch these up with more advanced versions including nouns and adjectives such as ‘the pink toothbrush’.
Once you have put the basics together, it's time to move on to the next level of hearing people speak at a natural pace. A great way to do this is by watching your favourite TV show or film in your language of choice, with or without subtitles if you really want to test yourself. Reality television can be another great tool for those who are struggling to find a native speaker as this way you can hear and practice the local dialect - just be careful not to pick up dramatic intentions from telenovelas!