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10 PRO TIPS: HOW TO LEARN A LANGUAGE WITH A FULL-TIME JOBPrevious Next
10 PRO TIPS: HOW TO LEARN A LANGUAGE WITH A FULL-TIME JOB
I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy. So, how do you learn that foreign language you’ve always dreamed of when you seem to never have any spare time? Here are the top tips for learning a foreign language even with a full-time job.
1. Join a language class
Joining an evening language class fits in perfectly at the end of your working day and is a great way to kick off your language learning goals since it blocks out 2 hours of your time each week to focus on the language. When you’re left to your own devices, it’s hard to get started as you may not yet have the discipline.
Languages classes are a great way to keep yourself accountable since you’re paying for the class and knowing that all the other students will be there will help prevent from making excuses to skip class.
2. Optimise your ‘downtime’
Optimising your ‘downtime’ is a great language learning hack. Your downtime are the moments that don’t require much mental effort or concentration such as when you’re commuting to work on a bus or train, walking from one place to the next, or during your lunch break. These pockets of time are perfect opportunities to slip in some extra language learning time. Even a 5-minute micro lesson pays dividends.
What you choose to do with this time is up to you and how you feel on the day. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Download a language learning app such as Mondly, Memrise, Duolingo, Drops, or Clozemaster and spend a few minutes in the app learning new vocabulary and grammar. Most of these apps allow you to set push notification reminders so you never miss an opportunity to learn.
- Type up your notes from your language class and save them on Google Docs. Download the Google Docs app and you’ll have access to these notes anytime you can spare a few minutes. Revise what you’ve learnt on your commute, over lunch, or just before going to bed.
- Listen to music or a podcast in your target language – This is perfect for when you’re driving, doing the housework, or even while you’re at work (depending on what your job requirements). Listening to the language is a great way to tune into the sound of the language which will improve your comprehension and pronunciation. Create a Spotify playlist and start adding your favourite songs to listen to.
- Turn on dubbing and subtitles on Netflix – We all love to relax at the end of the day with a TV show or film. If you’ve got yourself a Netflix subscription, look out for subtitles and audio available in your target language.
3. Every minute counts
Your day might be so busy that you trick yourself into thinking that spending even as little as 5 minutes a day won’t do much in getting you closer to your language goals. Trust me, every minute counts. Keeping the language fresh in your mind is key to remembering what you’ve already learned and keeping momentum.
Aim to inject some exposure to the language at different intervals throughout the day so the language is never far from your thoughts. Start with your morning routine, then your lunch break, then either after dinner or just before settling into bed. Do something that will bring your focus back to your target language.
4. Enjoy the journey
The key to sticking with your language learning goals is to enjoy the process. You have to learn what you like. Most people give up learning a language because they’re doing too much and get overwhelmed or they’re bored by the material. Boredom is a sign that something’s wrong and you need to change things up.
Make sure you’re learning to say things that you find interesting and like. Find a balance between using a variety of language learning tools and consistency. If that sounds like too much then find one resource you enjoy and focus on that before moving onto the next.
The more positive experiences you have, the more likely you’ll be willing to continue learning. Find a move TV show you love and know like the back of your hand and watch it with subtitles or dubbing turned on. Are you a massive Harry Potter fan? Chances are you’ll be able to find it in your target language since it have been published in over 80 different languages across the world.
5. Set yourself a goal to work towards
If you work well with deadlines, then maybe you should set yourself one. Do you have a trip coming up where you want to use the language? Do you want to have a conversation with your waiter at your favourite local Italian restaurant? Great! Choose a date you want to make this happen by and work towards it.
6. Reduce distractions
One of the biggest distractions we all face is social media and if you’re not careful it can be a real time suck, robbing you of precious language learning time. However, there is one trick to prevent you from getting lost down the rabbit hole of spending mindless hours on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
My top tip is to turn on notifications for language-related accounts you follow so you see them appear in your feed first when you open up the app. This way you’re guaranteed to see the accounts that actually help you rather than hinder your progress.
7. Track your progress
Looking back and seeing how much you’ve progressed with the language is a great way to keep yourself motivated to continue learning. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is by recording a short video or audio recordings of yourself speaking in your target language.
Even after a few weeks, you can see your progress. Maybe your accent has improved, your vocabulary has expanded or your sentences have become more complex. Whatever it is, congratulate yourself on constantly improving, even if the progress is small.
8. It’s not a race
There will always be someone out there who knows more than you, have more time than you, or speaks more languages than you. It’s important not to get caught up in other people’s progress with the language or let your ego get in the way. Avoid comparing yourself with others. It’s hard, I know, but you have to remember we are all own on our journey and have our own restrictions to deal with. Don’t look sideways at others, just look straight ahead and focus on your own language learning goals.
Another time you should remember it’s not a race is when you’re using language learning apps. They’re so good at gamifying the process and spurring you on to get to the next that you risk not actually retaining what you’ve learned. Remember to take offline what you’ve just learned by writing down the new grammar rules or vocabulary in your Google Doc or notepad. Start creating your own sentences to reinforce what you’ve learned.
9. Get back in the saddle
Let’s be honest, life gets in the way. So, don’t be disheartened if you need to take a break from language learning for a while. Maybe there’s a major project at work and you need to work back late for a month or you’ve got family and friends staying with you for a week. Whatever it is, don’t let these lapses in your language learning put you off.
Take the time you need to recoup and promise yourself to avoid delaying jumping back in the saddle more than you need to. The longer you leave it, the harder it will seem, even if it isn’t. Remember, learning something the second time around is much easier than the first.
10. Read, write, speak, and listen
Variety is the spice of life… and language learning! Depending on your needs and goals with your target language, it’s important to have a well-rounded understanding and grasp of the language. Evenly divide up your time so you’re spending an equal amount of time on reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Language classes are perfect for this as they allow you to do all four.
Outside of class, most language learning apps will help you practice your reading, writing, and listening. The HelloTalk app is great for practising all four areas with native speakers who give you feedback. This free app allows you to either record and send audio messages or write messages to you can practice whatever area you want to focus on.
Post written by: The Intrepid Guide
Original Article can be found H E R E !