Updated: Apr 13
Learning a new language can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming and time-consuming, especially when the demands of our work-life seem to get in the way. That's why it's important to incorporate language learning into your daily routine in small, manageable chunks. This way, you can make steady progress without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. Here are some suggestions from the Lingobility team on how to do just that!
1. Switch up your entertainment.
One of the easiest ways to expose yourself to a new language is to consume media in that language. This can include reading the news, watching TV or movies with subtitles on, listening to music or podcasts on your daily commute, and more. Not only will you be learning new vocabulary and grammar, you'll also get a sense of how the language sounds and is used in everyday life. For example, reading the news may help you practice reading formal writing and grammar, as well as vocabulary in a wide variety of subjects such as law, sports, politics, and more. On the other hand, music and other popular culture media sources can introduce you to informal speech and slang, as well as subject-specific vocabulary. Try watching your next Grey’s Anatomy binge in your target language, and see how many medical terms you pick up! Or if you're learning Canadian French, you can watch Quebecois TV shows to pick up local colloquialisms, as Lingobility's founder, Eric Gellert, does for his French practice. He turns on the French subtitles to help with comprehension and notes any new words he learns in his vocab journal! Lingobility also provides these online vocab journals to all our students, so if you'd like one too, you can sign up here.
2. Read a book.
Reading is a great way to improve your vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension skills in any language. Find a book in your target language that interests you, and try to read a little bit each day. If you're not ready for a full-length novel, consider starting with a children's book or a textbook specifically designed for language learners. You could also choose a book that you have already read in your primary language or are otherwise familiar with; this may help you understand words you don’t recognize and follow along with the story.
3. Write in your target language.
Practicing your writing skills can be a great way to reinforce what you've learned and cement it in your memory. This is because writing forces your brain to engage in active recall of information, instead of recognition of information which occurs during listening and reading. Writing is also the best way to practice spelling in your target language. As well, if your target language uses different letters and symbols than your primary language (for example, the Latin alphabet vs. Chinese characters), it’s important to practice using them and writing them out! Try writing a grocery list, making calendar notations in your target language, or keeping a journal. You could also try writing emails, letters, or text messages to friends and family who are also learning.
4. Find a friend or colleague.
Whether they are fluent in the language or also learning, having someone to practice with can be a huge help. Consider texting or calling your friend once a day in the target language to keep each other accountable and practice your writing or pronunciation. You could also try setting aside a specific time each week to meet up and have a conversation in the language. Having a partner to work with helps both of you learn to maintain the flow of conversation in a new language and practice difficult concepts like verb tenses. As well, you and your partner can share your knowledge of vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar with each other and give feedback in order to help each other improve! Plus, learning a new language can be a fun way to spend time together.
5. Add short practice sessions throughout the day.
If you find it hard to set aside dedicated blocks of time for language learning, try bringing your notes with you and reviewing them in short sessions throughout the day. This could be while you're waiting for the bus, eating breakfast in the morning, or during your break at work. By breaking your study time into smaller chunks, you can fit language learning into even the busiest of schedules. As well, smaller periods of review can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by the material and keep the content fresh in your mind throughout the day. Having a vocab journal, like the one we mentioned above, can be really great for these mini practice sessions.
6. Add visual aids to your environment.
Another way to reinforce your learning is to label items around your house with sticky notes in the target language. For example, you could label your kitchen with words like “pot”, “vegetable”, “plate” and more. In addition, it may be helpful to write out the conjugations of common verbs for your reference, like "cook," "fry," "chop," "wash," and "prepare." You could also do this at work, if your language learning goals are more work-oriented than domestic. This will help you learn new vocabulary, verbs, and may serve to improve your memory of these terms.
7. Add a game to your daily routine.
Make language learning more fun by incorporating a tongue twister, word, or joke of the day into your daily routine. This can be a great way to break up your study sessions and keep you interested. Tongue twisters are also excellent for developing pronunciation, and jokes may increase your understanding of the finer points of the language, like words with double meanings.
8. Take classes with an online language school, such as Lingobility.
Online classes are convenient and easy to incorporate into a busy schedule, as we wrote about in our post on the best way to learn a new language. Plus, if you're looking for more structured language learning, this could be a great option for you. Lingobility’s teachers are very flexible and can provide classes as short as 45 minutes. This is perfect for students and working professionals in our corporate language training program! Our teachers also provide homework assignments between lessons, which you can do a little bit of each day to keep refreshed. These tools allow you to continue to practice and reinforce what you've learned even when you're not in class.
Incorporating language learning into your daily routine doesn't have to be a chore. With a little creativity and discipline, you can make steady progress and have fun while doing it. So whether you're watching TV or movies in your target language, or taking online classes with Lingobility, there are many ways to make language learning a part of your daily life. Don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you – the most important thing is to keep at it and have fun!