Probably many of you wrote in your new year’s resolution:
“I’m going to learn …“ (put your chosen language here). The goal is clear but the process of implementation might not be that easy. I decided to share with you my personal solution for it. Today, I will tell you my mysterious ideas on how to learn a language in a creative way (hope there will be something innovative for you too!). Proper investment of time, energy and resources will for sure pay off later!
As you might know or maybe not, I live in Valencia?—?Spain now. Generally people here don’t speak English at all (apart from a few exceptions: hey Victor and Laura!) so, I’m doing my best to learn Spanish as much as I can, simply to communicate with people (it’s still difficult sometimes). Today, I’m going to show you my favorite apps, and methods that will take your learning to the next level! Sit down! Seat belts on! Starting a journey to the unknown language lands. Are you ready?
—Duolingo the most popular language app in the whole universe.
—Tinycards a kid from Duolingo. An app based on ‘flashcards’ mixed with Tinder concept.
—Memrise an online tool created by its community. Memrise uses flashcards augmented with mnemonics.
—Flash Academy, +Baabel.
1…2…3… Earth. Incoming transmission from a new planet. Pod what? You don’t know what is a podcast? Don’t worry, I know many people don’t. In fact podcasts were popular a few years ago but now they experience the Renaissance time. Podcasts are a form of episodic content that you can subscribe to or download (usually it’s audio). Podcasts don’t force you to find more time in your day; they give you the opportunity to fill out the dead time that already exists in you day. I listen to the podcasts while making a breakfast, walking in my city or riding a bike.
I strongly recommend listening to the podcasts while walking or driving a car (but be careful with the latter!). Below are a few podcasts that you should definitely consider if you want to learn something new in 2017!
—Best Podcasts for English beginners: Effortless English Podcast, Learning English Broadcast, Elementary Podcasts, Business English Pod.
—News in Slow… (Spanish, French, Italian). Listening to the news in a foreign language is great for increasing your vocabulary on current topics, which comes in handy if you’ll be chatting to the natives soon.
—Deutsche Welle, Slow German, Coffee Break German.
—Notes in Spanish, Coffee Break Spanish.
You can listen to podcasts on the websites, using iTunes, Stitcher app (available on the App Store & Google Play) or other players.
—Bab.la online dictionary with recordings of pronunciation, example sentences that help you memorize words. Available in 28 languages!
—Veintemundos free (Spanish, German, and French) Magazine. Learn language by reading articles and doing quizzes.
—Yabla learn language with authentic videos. (Chinese, Italian, Spanish, German, French, English). Also available as an iPhone app.
—Michael Thomas it’s a great course in the form of audiobooks. The man created his own vision of learning a language through real conversations. After 5 lessons you will be able to say first sentences in a foreign language, which is fantastic, because we all want to see the results as soon as possible.
—Profesor Pedro (for Spanish) digital language course based on native speaker recordings, readings, animations and interactive exercises (unfortunately it’s only for Polish users).
—Rosetta Stone it’s a paid equivalent of free Duolingo.
The power of Social Media
Probably, you are not aware how Social Media can help you in the process of learning a new language. The easiest way is simply — TALKING. Talk all the time even if you make thousand mistakes. Make trials and errors.
I highly recommend you to find a person, or a group of people with whom you will be able to chat, write or talk. There are so many creative and kind souls out there!
People are almost everywhere, so you can choose the right place where you spend the most time. If it’s Facebook, here are some groups based on ‘exchange’ idea. Go, and find your partner!
—Skype Language Exchange.
—Language Exchange Network: English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, or any other language.
—WhatsApp Language Exchange.
If you use Twitter on a daily basis, you can tweet and ask people if they want to practice language skills with you. Don’t forget to use hashtags: they may help you reach far bigger audience. Some examples: #OnlineLearning, #Spanish, #English, #NeedHelp, #LearnLanguages etc. Thanks to Twitter I started to chat in Spanish with my new friend from Chile! Don’t be scared to ask, people are really friendly!
Did you know that you don’t have to know that much a new language to start to read your first book? I didn’t. Recently my friend Wojtek has sent me a book in Spanish with an awesome concept: read a book in a foreign language with a table of unknown words.
To be completely honest with you I was super happy with the feeling that I started to read my first book in Spanish (even if it was not advanced material, I was still so proud!). Such feeling could be an incentive to start learning even more!
Listen to the music
For me it’s the easiest and the funniest way to learn a language. If you want I can sing you the newest Shakira’s hit “Chantaje” which means ‘blackmail’. I have learned that song by heart and I got to know many new words! Find a song on Youtube with lyrics, and start your own karaoke party. Of course don’t forget to read the translation and… don’t forget to tell your housemates to use the earplugs xD.
💖 My top 5 things among all mentioned 💖
Well, there are so many methods and techniques out there, but it’s really hard to use all of them. Since I moved to Spain I mostly talk in English (I work online with clients from all around the world). What’s even worse, I noticed that I started to make mistakes in Polish (even if it’s my mother language, lol!). Plus, I have to learn Spanish as well, it’s my New Year’s resolution to be ‘three lingual’.
I’m blended all the time. Sometimes I forget Polish words and instead I’m using English, sometimes I know Spanish word, but I don’t know English equivalent. I do my best to handle that chaos in my head (at least I try!).
I usually start my day with Podcast “Coffee Break Spanish” or “News in Slow Spanish”. Sometimes I mixed it with Michel Thomas course (audiobook).
I used to learn Spanish with Duolingo, but after a few months it did not work for me at all. I have followed only ‘streak days’ that helped me be more regular. I did not see any progress.
Before I go to sleep, I’m trying to talk in Spanish with my boyfriend Piotr. He is much better than me, he correct my mistakes and motivates me to talk. Personally, I think he’s just a genius. I also try to find a moment to chat with some people, especially with my friend who is a one of the most famous Spanish journalists (Hola Jose!). 😁👏🏻
Ok, let’s be completely honest, learning a new language usually is boring. That’s a sad truth. Sometimes I’m so weary that I want to throw my Macbook out of the window. In that case, I usually try to calm down, and change the learning method. Then, it’s much better.
Once per two weeks I read an article on Veintemundos, or a book in Spanish. Veintemundos is great, it’s an interactive magazine, so you can read and hear real native speakers. Content there is pretty interesting (you can read more about Spanish culture, art, nation etc). After reading you can do a quiz and check if you understood the content.
At the end of the day, I practice Spanish with Profesor Pedro (wish it was available for English speakers!). I would say it’s all in one (grammar, words, listening, reading exercises, quizzes). Moreover, I listen to Spanish music almost every day, it helps a lot. If I don’t succeed with marketing, I will be a rapper for sure. 😉
💡Finally: unleash your inner genius (yes, you really have one!)💡
Many of our minds tend to be negative, while being positive requires a conscious effort. It’s the same with learning something new. You start with a blank piece of paper with a ‘blank’ state of mind, and without any bad convictions start doing the right things. Instead of telling yourself that you are the worst, you are not talented enough?—?start telling yourself that “I’m doing my best”, “I can make it”, “It’s just a matter of time and practice”. Then watch what happens!
I have always thought that I’m untalented person, but as the time goes by I see that it’s just a matter of persistence, time and self motivation.
Here’s a homework for you:
— Choose one of the method I’ve mentioned above.
— Spend 5 minutes on it.
— Learn at least 3 new words!
— Send me some love, and let me know in a comment if it works for you.
If you have your own methods on how to learn a language, don’t hesitate to comment below! I’m always open to new ideas. 😊