NO TIME TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE?
Here Are Four Techie Tips You Can Carry Anywhere
Learning a new language sounds fun in the beginning, but once you’re already in the process, that’s when you realize that it requires a solid schedule, hard work, and profound inspiration on top of your daily life routine, responsibilities, and leisure activities.
But don’t give up yet.
Fact is, you might not just be exploring other options when there are ways to study a foreign language without compromising your everyday goals and priorities in life. With the help of technology, you can now learn a word or two before you go to work and on your way home–and even in between. Here are some of them:
- Use a pocket dictionary.
When you’re in a line, waiting for the elevator, or cooking your breakfast, it won’t hurt to crack open a few pages of your dictionary and study a phrase or an expression. Your dictionary, whether it’s print or an app, should consist of not only the words and their meanings but also the pronunciation, word type, and notes on how to use the word. If you have extra time, find a dictionary with a grammar and verb section to keep this aid handy and avoid buying a separate grammar book.
- Bring out your portable music players.
In her article on The Wall Street Journal, Heidi Mitchell explained the scientific findings that show how music helps the brain process millions of pieces of information everyday. With this, you might want to take a break from your habit of listening to your favorite rock stars on your way home after work for a few weeks, and play songs in the language you are trying to learn.
- Take advantage of mobile web and social media.
Instead of commenting on all the photos of your friends on Facebook, why not check language learning software titles online or read language-oriented blogs? You can create your own blog about your journey to learning a foreign language. You can update it using your iPad or phone: summarize what you have learned from a language course, share how the differences of languages surprise you, or reveal the language learning techniques you learn everyday. Your blog can serve as a venue for other language learners to share ideas and stories with one another.
You can also skip announcing to the Twitter world that you are bored, and just Tweet about a new foreign word or phrase you’ve learned. You might even gain new followers from a different country and find yourself exchanging “hello’s” with them in their language. Isn’t that cool?
- Talk to a buddy.
Engaging in a face-to-face interaction with someone who has a good grasp of the language you are trying to learn will help you practice and understand it by heart. Observe the other person’s gestures, facial reactions, and pronunciation. If this person is your friend, you can watch movies or TV shows in a foreign language together. You can also share the items we’ve discussed above with your friend and see how you can use them in your conversations.
Sometimes, you have to look around you (or inside your pocket) to discover how you can turn a struggle into a sweet opportunity.
Laurianne Sumerset is an avid traveler who loves learning languages. She’s currently based in Thailand, where she works as an English teacher while studying for a PhD in Linguistics at Chulonglakorn University. In her spare time she reviews online language courses and software for her website, languagesoftware.net. You can read her review of the Living Language Online courses here.