Whether it is to work or live abroad, learning foreign languages of the destination countries has several other benefits for various reasons. Today, the age of the internet and globalization is shortening the distance between countries. The increased mobility of people around the world has increased the need to master new languages so that they can function properly in new areas.
In the traditional ways of language learning, people were learning new languages by mostly focusing on what they thought was important like grammar and vocabulary. The traditional way of learning involved classical translation techniques that required people to use only standardized expressions in both writing and speaking.
Back in that day, many people already thought that this method was ineffective to make people learn foreign languages. The learning burden of memorizing basic rules such as grammar and decontextualized vocabulary of a particular language had given harsh exposure to demotivate everyone, especially late learners. Without real-time application, this way of learning requires a lot of effort to acquire full communication proficiency so it was gradually being abandoned and people were moving to a more practical way that emphasizes real communication skills.
Correspondingly, current learning strategies emphasize practical learning routines that also create a fun and friendly learning environment to make an easier process in the human brain. This natural learning approach is promoting a creative and dynamic learning process that resembles infants’ first language acquisition. According to this view, it is better to have constant interaction with actual language speakers, which will trigger a natural and enjoyable learning process for better absorption of the new language.
Be Practical and Contextual
Practical learning based on real-life situations and context is still an effective way to learn foreign languages. The learning process can be based on everyday situations that make the process less hurtful and allow a complete contextual comprehension that is very useful in proper language usage.
Fun activities and friendly learning environments are not always provided by well-reputed language courses or schools since everyone can find more practical activities that improve their language ability. Playing games, watching movies, listening to songs or podcasts, memorizing song lyrics, and making real interactions with foreign speakers are some activities that are often suggested to help people acquire a new language in fun ways. However, leaning activities that are related to everyday routines are more practical.
There are countless examples you can find further, yet we have already shortlisted some activities you can do at your home to give you some language exposure without realizing that you are learning them.
The foreign house
The constant exposure will make you think and talk as a native speaker of the language that you are learning. Starting it from your house could be an easy start to make you get familiar with the foreign language. If you love decorating your house, you can set the ornament, decoration, and colors that are closely related to the country of your target language.
You can learn it from house decoration websites or social media pages that often review different decoration characteristics for several countries. This step is not directly making you understand their language, but it is at least helping you to get familiar with the language culture.
If it seems too much, you can skip those, but still, stick to some creative ways like hanging some foreign quotes or proverbs for decorations on your wall. It seems not necessary to give the translation to those quote decorations since the constant exposure will make you unaware that you are grasping the language contents.
Moreover, quotations and proverbs are very inspirational as they were created from a perspective that sees something according to a certain cultural influence. This will help you to get closer and more familiar with the target languages.
Furthermore, you can try to put a recipe book written in your target language in your kitchen. You may need to label your kitchen containers using the target language that will help you improve your vocabulary. Learning foreign languages from recipes, names of ingredients, and instructions is a very contextual technique that will not make you get stumbled open language misused.
Besides decorations in your house, you can set your phone interface in the target languages. It may make you feel uncomfortable, yet it is an effective guessing activity to train your vocabulary. If you are gadget savvy, it is easy for you to get adapted and use your phone as usual.
If you need more challenges, set your browser and social media language preference in your target language. The suggested content in your browser will direct you to the content written in your target language. Some social media often suggests friends and connections based on your language preference, thus you can make friends virtually.
You will also get real-life exposure from your friends’ posts and learn how natives use the target language properly in communication. You can also initiate a conversation with your social media friends using messaging and chatting features. This activity will make you more confident while it also improves your knowledge about the language that you learn.
As messaging or chatting will only build your written communication skills, you can improve your pronunciation using phone voice assistance. Most smartphones on market today are built with such features, or compatible with third-party programs. Practice your pronunciation daily by using it for any regular internet activity or others.
Furthermore, today’s smartphone is also useful to make a voice call or a conference call. You can use the searching feature to find some places on the internet that allow you to join a speaking group freely. You can also play some online games and select your target language community. Most online games allow you to have an audio conversation with other players.
Instead of learning from textbooks or coursebooks, the real-life experience can increase your language skills in both fluency and accuracy. You can create a context according to your needs and interests. This is necessary to give constant input that slowly will shape your complete comprehension.
Finally, it should be understood that learning foreign languages needs continuous efforts to acquire better comprehension that lasts longer compared to the quick process of learning relying on remembering rules and words’ meanings. Thus, motivation should be above everything else that will help the learner to be consistent in a prolonged learning period.
To maintain motivation, setting up your own goal and keeping up the progress by yourself are very effective. Moreover, you can experience a different atmosphere in learning that feels more natural while also reducing the learning burden.