Many times I hear my friends, relatives or acquaintances saying: “I would love to learn German but I do not have the time“. Or any language. Anyway, for them, any excuse is valid. I always answer: “If you can’t it, it is because you’re not convinced you can”. And I think it’s true. If you really want to learn a language, there is always a free moment, no matter how busy you are. The important thing is that you do it because you like it. If you do it by obligation: getting a degree or diploma, etc., it will not be enough and you will always find excuses not to be able to do it.
I will now give you some tips that have worked for me and I still apply to language learning. These are primarily directed to those of you who already have basic or intermediate level and would take a few moments each day to reach this goal. Therefore, I do not see it as appropriate for beginners.
Learning languages by listening to the radio
You can listen to the radio while having breakfast or going to the university, to work, etc. On the internet, there are many national and international online broadcasters. And, to make it even more convenient, use an App of some radio stations and listen to it from 15-30 minutes a day.
One of these that I’ve used for Android is called Radio Nation which includes some 50 countries.
For example, if you want to practice your French, you can download the Radio France FM app. Once downloaded, you can search for stations by genre or city. When you choose the ones you like, you add them to favorites.
Listening to the radio for 15-30 minutes a day will help you get used to the new sounds and improve your listening comprehension. If you walk somewhere or travel by metro, bus, train or car every day, you can take advantage of this time to listen to the radio.
Learning languages by listening to podcasts
As with the radio, the advantage is that you can listen to a podcast several times or choose topics that you like the most. For both Android and iOS, you have several Apps that you can download. Here you have a website that lists them.
Learning languages while you sleep
I am not quite convinced that it is an effective method, because if you leave the radio, Podcast or a video on YouTube while you are sleeping, they do say that something is learnt.
Here is an example of “Learn German while you sleep“. You can find several examples and in several languages on this social network.
Learning languages by changing the language we use on our Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, mobile or any other electronic device
You are sure to use your mobile phone daily and perhaps several hours a day, or just to check your mail in Gmail, Hotmail, etc. Change to your target language for several days and there without realizing it, you will learn something new for sure.
Learning languages with audio courses
There are several audio courses that you can use and most are very effective. No additional resources are usually needed. Just listen to the content and repeat it. If you travel by car, you can repeat it out loud as this is more effective. These courses are intended for those who are more interested in the spoken language. If this is your case, here are some recommendations:
- Pimsleur Method: This method was created by Dr. Paul Pimsleur, professor and expert in applied linguistics and founding member of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Within the languages available on the Pimsleur method, we can find the following (in alphabetical order): Albanian, Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Modern Standard), Arabic (Eastern), Armenian (Western), Armenian (Eastern), Czech, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Creole Haitian, Croatian, Danish, Dari (Persian), Dutch, Finnish, Farsi (Persian), French, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, German, Indonesian, Irish, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Ojibwe, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (European), Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Spanish (Spanish), Spanish (Latin American), Swedish, Swiss German, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Twi, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese.
Probably no aspect of learning a foreign language is more important than memory. Yet no aspect of language learning has been less well examined.”
– Dr. Paul Pimsleur
- Linguaphone: It is a global provider of language training based in London. It has been teaching languageto to self-learners since 1901. As part of the Linguaphone Group, Linguaphone’s self-learning language product portfolio is sold in more than 60 countries around the world. The languages available are fewer than in the case of Pimsleur, but there are still many options to choose from: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai and the Turk.
The important thing is to do it in small doses but on a daily basis, so you will advance more quickly. That is to say, it is preferable to do 15 minutes a day every day than doing nothing for several days or weeks and then putting yourself through 3-4 hours in a row.
Read this article in Spanish.