75% of Americans are monolingual; they only speak English. Chances are, you’re one of these people, and maybe you’d like to expand your linguistic knowledge.
Learning another language can be quite handy, especially if you like to travel. Plus, it may help you understand English even more. But if you have a busy schedule, you may feel like adding these linguistic lessons may be undoable.
If you’re always short on time, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t pick up another language. Here are some of the best ways to learn a language when you’re strapped for time.
Try Duolingo (Or Other Apps)
Duolingo is a popular app you may have seen other people using. This useful app gamifies language learning so you can absorb the vocabulary in a fun way.
For those with competitive streaks, you’ll be pleased to know you can add your friends and there are leaderboards to compete on. You and your friends can duke it out, trying to best one another on the points you get daily.
Also, if you miss a day, the app will send you a friendly push notification reminding you to do your daily exercises. This can be very handy if you’re forgetful and also motivating if you usually drag your feet on tasks.
If you’re not such a fan of this owl-themed app, not to worry. There are other free apps out there that will help you pick up another language. They include Memrise and Clozemaster. There are also other paid options, such as Babbel and Rosetta Stone.
Read Books in the Foreign Language
When you’re on your daily commute, you should read books in the foreign language of your choice. You can make use of this time to learn the syntax of this language and maybe even expand your vocabulary through context.
If you haven’t really built up your vocabulary with an app like Duolingo, this can be extremely challenging in the beginning. To dial it back a notch, try picking a book you’ve read a bunch of times.
When you know a book like the back of your hands, you can then read through it in the foreign language and your brain will make associations between the English version and the foreign one.
When you do this, you’ll be surprised at how many words you’ll pick up quickly.
Put Shows on in the Foreign Language
On a similar note, put your shows on in the foreign language. This will help you get familiar with how things are pronounced and how the inflections should sound like.
If you find this too difficult in the beginning, then try dubbing your shows instead. You should be fairly confident in reading some of the more basic words, especially if you’re also doing Duolingo and reading books in another language.
Once you find you can read the subtitles pretty easily, try switching the whole audio to the other language. At this point, it may be less challenging to follow along.
Use a Personalized Online Program
If you want to go a step further than free online resources, then consider paying for a personalized online program.
For instance, the best way to learn Spanish online is to use Lingvist. They’ve carefully crafted their learning material so you learn the most commonly used words first.
Then, their AI maps your knowledge so you don’t go over material you already know. Instead, it puts you on a customized course so you progress at the best speed possible.
So long as you have an internet connection, you can practice your Spanish through this program. Even if you lose your internet connection, it’ll work in an offline mode for a little bit.
One of the best ways to learn a language is through a language exchange program. Usually, this pairs you up with a person who needs to learn English and is fluent in the language you want to learn. However, this process can be lengthy and time-consuming; not to mention you may have to travel to the other person’s country to make this happen.
HelloTalk is an app that digitizes exchange programs. It works on the same principles in that the app finds you someone who’s fluent in your desired language and needs to up their English skills.
You can then chat with one another through text, voice messages, and video chat. You can use whichever one you feel comfortable with.
This app helps you engage in both the linguistics and culture of the language you’re learning. There are some things that may be defined as such in the dictionary, but maybe the word has fallen out of favor with time, and now, there’s a slang word that’s better used. This is something you wouldn’t learn on your own, but with an “exchange program,” you would.
Use It or Lose It
If you live somewhere where there are native speakers around, don’t be afraid to try and speak with them! Even if you only know very elementary words, it can be great practice, and they’ll certainly appreciate your effort.
While it may feel embarrassing at first, the more you practice, the more fluent you’ll become. When you have real-life conversations with native speakers, you’ll pick up on the language much quicker.
Use the Best Ways to Learn a Language to Impress Everyone
If you feel like Hermione from Harry Potter, then you may be stressed out, thinking you don’t have enough time in the day to do everything. But with these best ways to learn a language, you’ll pick up a new tongue soon enough.
With how busy you usually are, you’ll definitely surprise everyone when you show up, able to speak something other than English! So hop to it, and in no time, you’ll be decent at whatever language you pick!
For some other interesting reads, please check out our other blog articles.