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How to learn languages in lockdown

Immersing yourself in a foreign culture is the best way to learn a new language. I remember having Spanish lessons in Salamanca in the morning and early afternoon, then putting my learning into practise in the tapas bars by night. Impossible, in the current circumstances. Now we cannot even go to a physical class and forget travelling to the country of the language we want to learn. But we can still travel with our mind! How? Buy learning another language from the comfort of your home. Many people have already figured this out being locked out. If you would like to start learning the language you always wanted, but don’t have ideas, I have some suggestions for you.

1 IDEA Play and learn with apps

The most common step to start is using apps. They use gamification to keep you engaged and many with a playful look seem to be aimed at children. But don’t be put off as you can learn a lot from them with a little regular practise. .
  • Duolingo https://www.duolingo.com
    Babble https://www.babbel.com
    Memrise http://www.memrise.com
    Busuu https://www.busuu.com/
    AnkiDroid Flashcards https://www.ankiapp.com/

2 IDEA Make TV your learning partner

Grab a DVD, go on Amazon Prime or Netflix and watch films and series in the language you want to learn. Turn on subtitles and do some vocabulary learning. If you are a beginner, start watching something you have already seen in your native language.
Netflix is a great learning tool and Language Learning with Netflix Chrome extension that you can watch shows with two subtitles on at the same time so you can visually pair translations with dialogue.

3 IDEA Be social - start online lessons with a tutor

If you are looking for structured lessons with assignments and homework, even if you cannot join a class physically, you can still do it online. From Skype and Zoom lessons to self-taught courses, there’s a digital classroom out there for everyone. When you are a beginner, speaking a foreign language with somebody is very motivating. Use the lockdown time to find a language tutor with whom you can practise. It will help not only your language, but will add some social aspects that we all crave these days.  

4 IDEA Train your ear listening to podcasts

If you are looking for structured lessons with assignments and homework, even if you cannot join a class physically, you can still do it online. From Skype and Zoom lessons to self-taught courses, there’s a digital classroom out there for everyone. When you are a beginner, speaking a foreign language with somebody is very motivating. Use the lockdown time to find a language tutor with whom you can practise. It will help not only your language, but will add some social aspects that we all crave these days.  

5 IDEA Play with flashcards to learn vocabulary

Vocabulary learning is crucial to increase your speaking skills: the more words you know, the more sentences you can make! You can use the apps I have already mentioned, create digital flashcards with Quizlet or Anki. You can also create your own flashcards using pieces of cardboard. Or if you are more traditional just get a notebook, divide the page into two columns and start to write down new words and expressions every day. One sentence a day that you could use on your future holiday makes 30 in a month. Another idea for beginners to absorb new words is to label your house with stickers. Great for learning words of food you have at home and everyday objects that surround you.
Learning a foreign language can be hugely rewarding. It doesn’t need to be a chore, and with a little time and persistence you might surprise yourself with the progress you can make.  

This year I’m reuniting with German and when the lockdown happened I knew I would have more chances to work on this language. If you want to discover more ideas for language learning and see how I’m tackling Deutsch, subscribe to my newsletter below to be notified. I will be sharing them with you in my next post.

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16/05/2020

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