How to Learn a Language for the Severely Lazy

How to Learn a Language for the Severely Lazy

Learning languages is interesting and useful, but if you’re like the majority of the world it’s just too much work unless you have no choice. No one wants to pay to take classes in their limited spare time, and extra homework and memorization can just be too much. Lucky for us, we live in the age of knowledge, and it is easier than it has ever been before to learn new things.

Apps - With just five minutes per day you can be on your way to learning any language you can imagine. Apps like Duolingo and Memrise (both available on the App Store and Google Play) pride themselves on being an easy and quick way to learn new languages.

Penpals - What better way to learn a language than from a native speaker themselves? Conversationexchange.com allows you to find and set up communication with a penpal of your choosing. If writing emails and letters isn’t your thing, you can even set up meetings with your penpal so that you can speak to them in person.

Music and TV - My favorite way to learn languages is to listen to music in the language you want to learn. It can help you to understand the nuances of pronunciation that simply reading out loud can’t do, and music also contains lots of slang that you wouldn’t experience during formal lessons. The same can be done when watching TV. Watching a movie or TV show in another language with subtitles that you can understand is perfect for extra vocabulary.

Journal - Practice writing about your day to day thoughts and activities in this new language. Write shopping and to do lists to practice vocabulary. Even small things can help when you’re learning something new.

Don’t trust Google Translate - I know, I know, everybody wants to go straight to Google Translate when they don’t understand something; but there are nuances of speech and writing that aren’t captured by straight up dictionary definitions. Many words have double meanings: for example, never say “je suis excité(e)!” to a French person! Though it literally means “I am excited!” the connotations of that phrase are quite risque nowadays.

Learning styles - It might not be that you’re a lazy learner, you might just be trying to learn things the wrong way. What is your learning style? Are you a visual learner? Do you learn things by listening to them? Or do you learn best through the practical application? These tips are all well and good, but if you choose the wrong tips for your learning style- such as a visual learner listening to music- you won’t make very much headway. Find your learning style and use it to your advantage.

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