How to Learn a New Language in Lockdown

Jun 3, 2020 | Covid19, Travel Tips

How fascinating are languages? Languages are a skill that I personally underestimated the importance of during school education. It was only as a young adult moving abroad, that I realised just how life changing it is to speak more than one language. I believe the best way to understand a new culture is to fully immerse yourself with the people and the language. Understanding how self-expression changes from one country to another is honestly mind-blowing!!

Whilst we are all dreaming of our next travel destination, what better way to begin your new adventure than by learning a new language. Not only will it be a great new skill to acquire, but it’s also a great way for us travel lovers to continue our learning of new cultures whilst we are stuck at home and dreaming extensively about our next trip.

There are so many free apps that can support your learning, one of my personal favourites is Duolingo. Practice is key! If you commit to just 10-15 minutes a day consistently then you will be well on your way to holding a conversation in no time at all. Do you have a friend or family member that is interested in learning too? A bit of healthy competition and someone to practice with is always a great motivation to keep you focused.

Check out my absolute top tips for learning the language of your choice while keeping it fun! The more you enjoy your practice, the more time you will make for it in your day – remember, practice makes perfect!

1. Music

Listen to music in your chosen language, find some songs that you like and try to understand or translate the lyrics. The feeling you will have when listening to a song months later and understanding parts of the lyrics is incredible!

2. MOVIES/SERIES

With good old Netflix showing movies from so many destinations around the world, make sure you listen in the native language and add in some English subtitles. The more you listen and familiarise yourself with the language, the easier it will be to understand. Hot tip for anyone learning Spanish – Netflix has a number of spanish series like Elite, High Seas and crowd favorite, Money Heist!

3. Practice

If you have a friend, or a friend of a friend that is a native speaker in the language you wish to learn , reach out to them and have a mini conversation on the phone, email or even text message each week. You can increase the difficulty level every time and you will improve your vocabulary enormously. It will also push you to improve every week.A great tool for learning is to buy a box of cards with the language vocabulary (or make your own if you’re on a budget) and stick them around the house. When you head to the fridge for those quarantine snacks and see the words for fridge, door, butter, etc posted all around you, you’ll associate them in your mind and pick them up faster!

 

An important thing to remember is to have confidence, it’s perfectly normal to make mistakes or use the incorrect grammar whilst you are learning, so don’t be afraid to say whatever you can and try to create sentences. Rome wasn’t built overnight and making mistakes is the best way to learn. I once ordered half a kilo of “polla” in the butchers instead of “pollo”, for those of you that understand Spanish you will have a good laugh at that one, and those of you that don’t  “pollo” is chicken and you can google translate the other word. Safe to say I never made that mistake again.

I hope this helps encourage you to get started with these exciting new language skills, your next adventure will be even more special when you can communicate with the locals. Have fun and make lots of embarrassing mistakes like me!!

WRITTEN BY: Gemma Ford

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