These are just suggestions of different tools and mediums to help you learn and hopefully keep things interesting. Variation is key because doing the same thing repeatedly can be demotivating and may have a diminishing effect.
- Music – This is an enjoyable way not to necessarily learn a lot but to get used to the way it sounds and see if you can pick anything up. If you manage to understand some words, you’d probably be able to pick them up in conversations. Whilst listening to music hopefully it’ll do something subconsciously.
- Interviews – Find an actor or celebrity, someone you’re interested who’s a native in that language and find some interviews. These are a good way to observe a normal or sometimes slightly formal conversation and get used to the flow. It will also be very interesting to you and may motivate you to study some more! Keep in mind that whatever they’re talking about, it’s likely to be on one topic so be sure to study others.
- Short Stories – Depending on your level of study, these may be children or adult short stories. Nevertheless they help you with reading, grammar and are short enough to keep your attention because doing things in another language takes more effort. If these are on audio, you can also do some dictation practice with them.
- Youtubers – Youtube is an unlimited world for language practice. You can probably find people from any country and they are the best examples in daily conversational language. You’ll also find a lot of different people who speak that language, so you can get used to the difference in the way they talk.
- Documentaries – This is probably for more advanced learners as the pace is often quite fast and the vocab quite advanced. They are really good for practicing your listening skills and learning something new. They will be more official and formal than a conversation so when you’re speaking you probably don’t want to imitate them too much, you might come off as stand offish.
- Movies – Movies are again a good way to learn about the culture, way of life and how normal conversations are conducted. You can learn a lot about their slang and how it may differ from the textbooks. Try to watch without any subtitles then with subtitles in that language and study it through the movie. Your aim is to learn but maybe you could watch it first in your native language before studying it, which makes it easier. Watching with your native subtitles will do little to help so don’t bother with that.
- Exams – Past papers are a good way to practice your reading, listening and writing. They have different levels of difficulty and answers are often given so you can follow along easily. They usually cover a general range of topics that can get you up to a conversational level.
- Cartoons – This may be tedious and boring to a lot of learners but at the end of the day, if your language is at the level of a child, you’ll have to learn at that stage. It isn’t as boring as you think because you’ll be too busy trying to understand everything that’s being said regardless of the story. This will also encourage you to move on to a higher level quicker!
- Books – This again depends on your level in the language. If you’re a beginner, you will be looking for books catered towards young children. They help a lot with vocab, grammar and are often quite short. If you are at a more advance level, obviously there is a wider choice.
Till our next meeting,