10 Small Things You Can Do Each Day to Learn a Language
Posted on at cps-sanjaknezovic.onmycalendar.com by Guest: Lizzie Davey
language can seem like a lengthy, difficult process and, at times, it
can feel like you’re wading through a sticky bog unable to get to the
other side. Too many people focus on the end goal without thinking about
– and acting upon – a series of smaller tasks that will help them reach
that end goal. Whilst it’s good to practice every day to keep
everything fresh in your mind, you don’t have to sacrifice other things.
Taking ten minutes here or there throughout your day is enough,
especially if you incorporate the language learning process into your
every day routine.
1. Change the language on your phone
You probably already know your way around your phone pretty well, so
why not change the settings so it’s in your target language? Seeing the
language pop up every time you look at your device – which, let’s face
it, is pretty often for most people – can help etch it in your memory,
and the regular exposure will keep you thinking about it throughout the
2. Listen to a podcast
Most of us have some kind of daily commute, whether it’s to work or
to the supermarket, which is the perfect opportunity to practice
language learning. Download some podcasts or get a good audiobook to
plug yourself into during this time and you won’t feel like you have
wasted a single second of your day.
3. Read an article or news story
To familiarise yourself with the grammar and sentence structure of
your target language, it is a great idea to read one or two articles in
it each day. They don’t have to be long; just a current affairs piece or
something on a topic that interests you. To take this a step further,
try reading the article out loud to get used to the sound of the letters
and to practice your intonation.
4. Flash cards and post-its
When I was learning to talk, my mum stuck post-it notes with the
names of objects all around the house to familiarise me with how words
look and to encourage me to learn more vocabulary. This is a great thing
to do when learning a language, too. Of course, this method only really
works for tangible objects – you can’t put a post-it on an abstract
notion – but it is an effective revision technique as you will be
looking at and using these objects on a daily basis.
5. Translate your shopping list
Talking of supermarkets, writing out your shopping list or your to-do list
in your target language is another great technique to incorporate into
the language learning process. Practicing writing things out gets you
used to the spelling and formation of words and, if you don’t know the
word for something you need, you can look it up and add a new word to
your ever-expanding vocabulary!
6. Listen to some music
If you’re a music fan, weaving songs in your target language into
your daily routine can be hugely beneficial as well as fun. Most songs
are written in a casual manner, giving you an insight into colloquial
language. Plus, they are great tools for getting to grips with grammar
and pronunciation, and they’re easier to memorise than dry blocks of
7. Have a dictionary on hand
up a pocket dictionary and carry it with you at all times. So, if you
have a spare moment, you can have a flick through or, if you’re
desperate to know what a certain word or phrase means in your target
language, you can quickly look it up and add it to your new-found
8. Play a game
There are so many online language learning games now that there is
bound to be one out there that suits your needs and you find fun.
Alternatively, if you are a big gaming fan, you can change the settings
on your favorite game to your target language. There tends to be a
number of conversations to move games forward and it won’t feel like
you’re doing any work at all!
9. Sign up to a forum
The vast majority of countries have a range of forums on a various
topics, from relationships, to writing, to computer programming like forosdelweb.
So, if you’re interested in technology and you’re learning Spanish, you
might want to sign up to a site like this for a great way view
interactions between native speakers, to get involved yourself, and to
gain some industry-specific vocabulary - if this is what you are looking
10. Write about your day
This is one of my favorite daily techniques because you can easily begin
to see the progress you have made after a couple of weeks if you keep
all your ‘daily reviews’ in the same place. You only need to write a
couple of sentences about what you got up to, things you saw, and things
you read or heard and it will keep the creative juices flowing in your
target language. If you do it quickly before bed you can review it the
next morning to keep the language fresh in your mind for the rest of the
Lizzie writes for GEOS Languages Plus and other language school sites. Last year she went to LanguagesAbroad
to learn Spanish in Spain where she realized that language learning has
to become a part of everyday life if you want to succeed. In her spare
time you can find her exploring Europe and further afield, watching
nature documentaries, and drinking an obscene amount of tea.