What my experience taught me is this : if, like yours truly, have an attention span very short, using the same old language method will bore the fuck out of you way too soon, and then how will you work 30 minutes a day as the whole world is telling you to? Huh? You won’t. Your lovely books will despairingly call you and before you know it, you’ll spend hours reading instead of working towards your goals. Which is okay. But not the subject today.
Anyway. My utter lack of any patience after a day caring for 20 kids is the very reason I’ve decided to use several learning mediums and so far it’s working, so perhaps it’d be the same for you 🙂
Note that there’s nothing revolutionary in there, but if that can help at least a little, I’d be the happiest
camper blogger. Whatever.
Honestly, when I decided to learn German again, it seemed all too overwhelming : sure, I had studied it for 5 years in middle-school and high school, but I hadn’t even READ something in German since then. I’m 32, so. Let me tell you that the only things I remembered were how to say hello, how are you, I don’t understand, can you repeat please????
But then Duolingo happened and saved me the hassle of working on the basics with my old textbooks (ew, you don’t even want to look at them, ew, there aren’t even freaking COLORS). Alright, sometimes I legit felt freaked out by their strange-ass sentences (seriously), but it made my first weeks so much easier! After a while I also started using LingQ, that references audio docs recorded by native speakers (with the written text AND an incorporated dictionary, which was so. helpful).
Both apps are very useful to get a good start in my opinion, their only downfall would be that you’ll feel limited relatively quickly (also, the strange-ass sentences, I insist). Moreover, LingQ loses its free option after a while, annnnnnnd –
I have a thing : I might be very motivated to improve my German, there’s still no way I’d pay when so many free websites offer interesting and interactive courses.
a) National channels websites : for German I’m using Deutsche Welle (Nico’s weg, from A1 to B2 – I’m SO invested in the story line, that’s not even funny) and my sister in law uses TV5 Monde for French. I am sure that these kinds of websites exist in other languages, so if you know about any please link them in the comment section!
b) EDX : You probably know about it, but please bear with me because I’ve only discovered this amazing website recently. To put it in a nutshell, EDX offers online College courses from Universities from all over the world, including language courses, and it is free. It’s worthy to note that you can get an official certificate or College credit if you pay a fee (generally from 50 to 100$), but don’t worry, it’s completely free if you only want to use their platform to follow an audit course. The University of Valencia, for example, offers Spanish courses there.
I have to admit that I’ve never been into podcasts – they’re not very developed in France, as far as I know – but if you’re like me and your commuting time is a bitch, they may be a solution! Just log on Itunes and launch a search, most of them can be downloaded for free, and they’re available in a very important diversity of languages.
Alright, depending on what language you’re learning, successfully finding a TV series available where you live can feel… challenging, let’s say. However, if you can’t get your hands on an interesting show (yes, it’s very important to find something that you like – this way it won’t feel so much like a chore), and have Netflix, why not watch a dubbed version of your favorite show in the language you’re working on? Okay, that can be a bit weird : trust me, I’ve watched Black Mirror in German. Moreover I know that dubbing often has a bad press in English-speaking countries but… that really does help (not to mention that it’s very ableist to look down on dubbing in my opinion, but that’s a subject for another day). As for the never-ending debate over the subtitles, I don’t think there’s a ‘right’ answer so I’ll merely tell you what works for me : first I use subtitles in French (my native language), but not for a very long time because I feel like I’m losing important nuances (how a sentence is organized, etc). Indeed I prefer using subtitles in the language I aim to improve in. The thing I’ve realized (and that’s the MOST important in my opinion) is that IT’S OKAY NOT TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. I swear, it IS.
I mean this is a book blog so you must be expecting this part : BOOKS! As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing more motivating and satisfying than managing to read a book in its original language, and actually that’s my main reason for learning them (duh). Of course, you’ll have to aim ‘low’ at first and select a few children/MG novels, but as children books are awesome, it’s not a real downside at all. Most likely you’ll discover plenty of amazing novels you might have disregarded otherwise. In that quest, ereaders such as Kindle provide practical tools I particularly enjoy, as one-touch dictionaries to look out the meaning of a word without stopping your read (which is downright painful, seriously).
If you like music, look out for artists singing in the language you’re learning (or do it my way, aka bother your friends with your endless recommendation requests, SORRY! THANK YOU). Again, even if you don’t understand everything (which, admittedly, also happens with your own language, or is that just me?), you are IM-MER-SING (also works with the busy or tired days, when thinking about opening your app makes your eyes twitch).
Finally, I should mention Youtube but in all fairness… I barely use it. However, please feel free to link your favorite Youtube channel for learning language!
And you, are you studying a language and how? Tell me in the comments!