Duolingo is great for learning the basics of a new language but I never use it. It's boring, right? Taking classes to learn a new language can really help, but do you really want to put in all that effort to learn hundreds of words every week? I did a lot of research about it, and I figured out that it is way more efficient and fun to learn a language with other apps and methods. Here is my guide to learn any language while having fun!
The thing is: You just have to completely immerse yourself. How to completely immerse yourselves in a new language? Basically, everything you do should be in the language you want to learn. Everything you do for fun too. So you learn while having fun.
In this article, I show you how I completely immersed myself into German and Portuguese. Well, first I wanted to learn Portuguese only, but since I was in Germany, German became a bigger utility short-term.
Jetzt geht's los
These are the things I did: Jetzt geht los!
- Change your language settings on Android, Facebook, Windows, Google, Spotify, and whatever other platforms and programs you use!
- Find and listen to music of the culture of the language.
- With lyrics in that language: Use Spotify and Musicmatch on your phone to get translations of lyrics too.
I made a playlist of Portuguese Spotify Music with subtitled Lyrics, and it helped me a lot.
Who wants to put together a German playlist with me? I like hip-hop and house. Give me a shout!
Youtube can also have subtitles sometimes., but make sure they're not automatic subs. Once you changed your YouTube language in Settings, your trending feed will contain many foreign video's!
If you're better, listening to radio stations of the language of interest works well: try TuneIn.
- If you ever read books, it would be great to try a book in the language of choice once. I personally rarely read books anymore: I listen to them on Audible. I used Audible.de to find German books and downloaded them in the app on my phone. It's better to read something of the language of interest if the thing you are reading is actually interesting to you too! Why ever read school language books again?
- Watch movies and series from the language of choice, or watch voice-overed movies on Netflix or download them. Use subtitles until you're good enough without.
This is what I see when I open my Netflix. I created 5 accounts and changed the language in every account settings.
This was my Netflix Frontpage today when I clicked on Português. When I click on 'Deutsch', it shows a series in German.
Follow different groups on Facebook, get in touch with communities of the country of the language you want to learn. For example, when traveling, there are lots of backpackers of any country, and they all have Facebook groups. In any bigger city, there will be Facebook groups of communities from any bigger country. Like in Groningen, I entered a Facebook group called Brasileiros em Groningen and I made a post to get to know some Brazilians in my own town!
Make sure you hang out with friends of the language of interest, so that you can practice and so that you hear them speak it a lot as well.
Install Tandem, make a nice profile, and chat to people from that language. Add them on WhatsApp later, and have whole conversations and (video)calls. Tandem is amazing. It's an app like Tinder, but it doesn't match for hookups, but if you want to learn each other's language.
Install BeeFluent on Chrome to FB chat in the language of interest
Read books, articles, and news in the language of interest once you're good enough. If you changed your settings, news will often already pop up in the language of interest, which is great!
Install Kypsis (or similar) on Chrome to randomly translate 30% of all words in Chrome.
- Maybe this goes too far for you, but if you have private logs, notes or a diary that you keep, write them (or try to write them) in the language of interest. This works best after you did all the other things already and are quite good at the language, so it doesn't become irritating.
- Adopt physical social behaviors
- Learn cognates for example, in Portuguese
Using these tips myself I became fairly good in English and German, and I'm on my way to learn Portuguese now too, and it goes very fast.
I hope you found these tips useful. Once you did this, it becomes way more fun and easier to learn a language because it is all around you: it forces you to use it, even if your own language would be more practical.
To really learn a language, of course going to a country where they speak it will not beat any other way, but it's a good start to surround yourself digitally first.
I strongly believe the way we learn a language in schools is outdated and incredibly inefficient (compared to my method). I hope that the government will understand this and will soon change to more immersive methods. Achieving this is one of my company's goals.
Let me know what you think about this article. It's brand new and I just started writing. If you like it, don't forget to share it with your friends. There are buttons right below.
I can't wait to go to Brazil (probably next year) and to start using Portuguese everywhere!