Tips | Learning a Language at Home

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Learning a foreign language can be intimidating but one thing is certain – it is fully worth it. Not only do you broaden your horizon by acquiring new language skills you also discover a whole new world and you simultaneously grow as a person. But the list of arguments for learning a new language is endless. It ranges from being able to watch movies in their original language to connecting to people and exploring a new culture as language, culture and identity are interconnected. There is something really exciting about going on holidays abroad and being able to speak the local language – you suddenly feel less like a tourist and more like an actual part of society and chances are that you’ll get a better insight into local culture. Having the ability to communicate with locals in their language feels immensely rewarding and definitely boosts your confidence. The funny thing is that when you learn a new language, you never just learn just one – there are always similarities between different languages and certain languages have an incredibly lot in common. In the end learning a new language leads to acquiring a new way of thinking, it leads to tolerance and understanding and once you catch the ‘language bug’ there certainly is no going back.

As a lot of you may know I recently came back home after travelling France for 3.5 months. Apart from the fact that I love exploring new places my main reason for going to France was my interest in the French culture and the French language. This language wasn’t completely new to me as I had already studied it school for some years but still, my French skills weren’t anywhere near perfect (to put it nicely).Β I remember sitting at home a few days before my departure watching French YouTube videos (and literally thinking ‘merde‘.) Right there I realised that I had a long road ahead and that improving my French skills would take a lot of hard work and dedication. Learning French was certainly one of the biggest challenges I had faced in a while and I sat there wondering if my vocabulary would ever exceed ‘croissant’, ‘chocolat’ and ‘rendezvous’. On my first day in France it definitely didn’t and telling someone to move his luggage turned out to be the biggest challenge of the day. But from that point things only got easier and looking back, I am incredibly happy about my decision to go to France. Language-whise it was the best thing I could have done and when I left France I actually felt sad about switching to my native language again and my sadness intensified at the thought of leaving behind French pastry. And lovely Nice of course. The funny thing was that I went to Italy afterwards and despite not speaking a word of Italian I was able to understand quite a lot – until then I had never realised how close French and Italian were. Anyway, going abroad is definitely the most effective way of learning a new language as you’re practically forcing yourself to speak it (in a good way of course). But even if you don’t go abroad, there are still plenty of methods to learn a new language at home and I decided to list my favourite ones.

Apps. There are many great apps for learning new languages and I can’t think of a more practical and convenient way of improving your language skills. You can use these apps on the go, during your morning commute or during your lunch break. My favourite language app is Duolingo as it’s very effective and a lot of fun at the same time.
Lingolia. Learning the grammar of a new language can be daunting but with Lingolia it is as easy as it can be. This platform is definitely my favourite for learning grammar as it is very well structured and easy to use. Each grammatical chapter comes with exercises and all the chapters summarise the most important grammatical rules without leaving out anything important. I can also recommend creating your own ‘grammar book’ as writing down all the rules will help you memorise them.
Netflix. That sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Watching movies can be incredibly helpful with learning a new language and the best thing about Netflix is that you can turn on subtitles, too. If you don’t have a Netflix subscription, YouTubes videos will be just as good – especially vlogs are great for learning useful vocabularies and for learning e.g. spoken French.
Reading. This is an obvious one. Reading books in a foreign language obviously helps you to acquire new words and in contrast to Netflix, novels are great for learning not only the spoken version of a language but the written one too. If you are struggling to read in the language you are learning, I can recommend starting with YA books as these usually contain easier language.
12 words a day. When I first started to learn French my French teacher told me that it was best to learn 12 words a day and that rule has stuck with me. So I keep a little book where I jot down 12 new vocabularies a day and this method has proven to be very effective as 12 words are very easy to keep in mind and as it’s always fun to randomly pick words you want to learn.
Diaries. If you are keeping a diary just switch to writing in a foreign language occasionally or if you are really ambitious you could even start a diary in that language. You could also buy a ‘1 line a day book’ or any other kind of book you can write into regularly. When learning a foreign language, it really helps to practise writing along with speaking.

I hope these tips are helpful and if you need a bit of extra motivation why not plan a holiday abroad to use your newly learned skills? I can promise you it will be incredibly rewarding.

Do you speak any foreign languages? Is there a foreign language you would like to learn? x

  • great tips πŸ™‚
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  • Really good advice! I'm a fan of Duolingo too. Also, I always watch German beauty guru/lifestyle people on youtube because the content is pretty self explainatory but you can pick up some good vocab! x

  • Yes! I love watching spanish movies on Netflix – so helpful!

    xo, mikΓ©la / simplydavelyn.com

  • I would absolutely love to learn French – I was learning it using Duolingo a while ago but had a week off and then never went back to it! I'm lucky enough that I can just about get by speaking it but I can't really understand what people say back to me so I really need to pick that up again!
    Amy xx
    http://www.callmeamy.co.uk

  • I've been meaning to learn a new language at home and have ever only got so far as a month or two of consistent work. I learn the Korean language early last year by watching lots of videos and language apps. It always comes down to the motivation part where I lose fire, though. My brother, on the other hand, learnt German at home and pretty much did an accelrated course on DuoLingo!

    I'm hoping to learn Latin in the near future even though I know it's a dead language, haha.

    MAY | http://WWW.THEMAYDEN.COM

  • I love learning languages and have a long list of languages I'd love to learn. I was learning russian in school but that didn't turn out too well and I know nothing from it. I am learning Spanish at the moment but love to start learning Italian, French or German soon πŸ™‚ Also, these are great tips you have here. I use Duolingo as well, it's such a great app.

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

  • I would love to learn a new language – especially French! I know a little bit of Greek and German but that's about it! Thank you for the wonderful tips, I'm definitely going to look into downloading Duolingo πŸ™‚ it sounds great!

    I hope that you have a nice weekend lovely,

    El xxx

    http://www.elsfashionfix.co.uk

  • I love this post ! I'm learining french it's such a pretty lanaguage and hope to soon go out to france to improve my skills the way you did but for now i'm loving these ideas ! Netflix is a brilliant one, I also find that learning disney songs in french really helps me πŸ™‚ I especially love your idea about keeping a lie a day diary in a foreign lanaguage, I'm definitely going to do that one , i'd never heard it before πŸ™‚

    lots of love, Marianne xxx

    http://myhappybubblexx.blogspot.co.uk/

  • I would love to learn a new language fully, I studied french while I was at school but I only managed to pick up the basics, I am going to look into Duolingo as it sounds like a good app. Great post as always lovely πŸ™‚ xx

    http://my-world-heather.blogspot.co.uk

  • Thank you! <3

  • Thank you! xx

  • Thank you very much! Watching lifestyle videos helps a lot – I didn't know you were learning German, that's really cool xx

  • It is! xx

  • That's a great start though and you can go back to learning French at any time. It really is a beautiful language and if I was you I'd continue with Duolingo, it's so much fun xx

  • That sounds amazing, Korean is such an interesting language. I get that, it is hard to stay motivated when you're learning a language at home. Wow hats off to your brother, German definitely isn't the easiest language. πŸ˜‰ Latin is really interesting though, I studied it at school and it really helped me with other languages xx

  • Thank you, Leta! Duolingo is amazing and this is a great list – I'd also love to learn Spanish and it's cool that German is on your list. I don't know if I had the motivation to learn German as a foreign language, I sometimes struggle with the grammar myself haha. xx

  • You're welcome, I'm really happy you liked them! French is certainly one of the most beautiful languages xx

  • Thank you, I'm glad you liked it! French is beautiful and I'm sure you would have a great time in France. Keeping a diary in a foreign language really helps me, it also makes me think in this language. And Disney songs are a great idea, I'll definitely try that! xx

  • Thank you Heather! That's a great start though and I'm sure you'd get back into it really easily with Duolingo. xx

  • Great tips, Mira! I like using Duolingo to learn basic French and I learned basic Japanese by watching a loooot of animes. I'll try the 12 words a day and diary soon. πŸ™‚

    xx, Richel Goes Places

  • Thank you! xx That's great!

  • Kay

    I actually had to learn the English language from scratch when I first moved to England ten years ago, so I can deffo relate to this post! πŸ™‚ <3 I think personally, the best way to truly learn a language is by talking to / interacting with native speakers. It's all well and good learning things in theory but by actually talking to others, you learn so much more and in a very useful way. That's what I found worked for me anyways. πŸ™‚ <3 I would say my English is better than my Polish these days which is a little sad I guess haha, but it's deffo a long process! x x

    Kay
    http://shoesandglitter.com/

  • great tips, would def try it when i travel to a new country next!
    http://www.thestyletune.com

  • That isn't sad, that's really impressive actually! I didn't know you only moved to England 10 years ago, I always assumed you were born there and that parents were born in Poland. You're right, interacting with native speakers is definitely the best you can do. xx

  • I'm glad I could help! xx

  • This was so interesting to know! I wasn't aware that Netflix had subtitles. Thanks for the tips! <3
    FloralsAndCoralsx

  • I'm glad you liked them xx

  • Loved reading this. Please check out my latest summer hair tutorials with ghd.

    Kisses xo | From Aliona With Love

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  • Such a fascinating post! Your motivation astounds me Mira. Although, it is definitely possible. I know a girl who taught herself Hebrew just through sheer will and effort, so it can definitely be done. However, now I am curious– where do you ACTUALLY live? Also, are you planning on visiting someplace else soon?

    http://cynicalduchess.blogspot.com

  • Thank you! xx

  • Thank you, that means a lot! Wow that's incredible, Hebrew is such a difficult language. I'm living near Cologne although I'm moving away soon. I'm going to Croatia in a week but that's really just a family holiday xx

  • These are SO good! I studied French all of high school and don't want to lose my knowledge of the language, one of my other friends in a similar situation found out about a french course and it was like $500! Haha, needless to say we're just going to be setting some time aside personally to revamp our language skills – I just downloaded Duolingo! πŸ™‚

    Raashi
    reflectionswithraa.blogspot.com.au

  • Thank you, that means a lot! That's amazing – 500 is a lot though, I once heard of a French course that was 25 Euros a year, that was such a bargain haha. I'm sure Duolingo will help you xx

  • Ahhh thanks so much for posting this! I'm learning German at the moment and I'd like to be fluent (or close to it) within 2 years. I've never heard of Lingolia so definitely going to look that up. Learning 12 words a day is great idea as well, will try that πŸ™‚ xx

    Effi | http://www.sparkleberryblog.com

  • That's amazing, I'm sure you can do it! I'm glad I could help you! πŸ˜‰ xx

  • I too have used the app to help teach me Spanish. It's great fun and easy to use. I only know a few words but must start learning again! Never learnt any language in school, was never interested back then. But yes they do say if you know French you can learn Italian and Spanish pretty easily.
    Thanks for the tip on 12 words a day, I might have to start using that one.

    Love Hannah xx

    http://www.HannahHawes.com

  • That's amazing, I would love to learn Spanish! xx