Here I am, back again with another guide on how to be lazy. As if you actually need to be taught that.
If you caught my first edition of lazy language learning then you obviously enjoyed it because here you are again, ready to discover more tips on how to succeed with minimal effort. If you didn’t catch it, and you’re a lover of Netflix thrillers, then you should definitely go and check it out, because there are some great series that you really don’t want to miss.
In this episode, I thought I would talk more about every day hacks that can help you to improve in your target language, without needing your head stuck in a grammar book all day long…no Madame, matter how many times it’s forced upon me, I will NEVER enjoy revising irregular verbs!
I have been learning (or attempting to learn) a language for many years now, so I know just how frustrating and often disheartening it can be. One day you manage to have a great conversation with a native speaker, the next, you go into the post office and end up tongue-tied for five minutes after forgetting the word for stamp. It’s a process. And a long one at that.
Since being on my year abroad I have tried to incorporate French into parts of my daily routine, as a method of learning without actively having to learn. I wanted to share some of my tips with other struggling language learners out there, because babe, you got this! This post isn’t exclusive to French learners like me, all of these tips can be applied to any language and in any country, so no excuses!
Switch up your technology
What’s the first thing you reach for in the morning and the last thing you put down at night? Be honest. It’s your beloved phone. Thanks to the screen time app on iPhone, you probably know exactly how much time you’re spending on your phone, and it’s probably a large proportion of your day. So why not start by changing the language on your phone to the one you’re trying to learn? Increasing your exposure to the everyday vocabulary that comes up on your phone will have you building your internal dictionary without even trying.
Read a book
If you’re a book lover, and you’re looking to improve your reading skills in another language, then why not use your personal passion to help meet your personal goals? Reading a book in a target language can be one of the best ways to build up your vocabulary, and learn about grammar in a more interesting way. You may want to start off with a book you have read before in translation, to help you follow the story. Then afterwards, as your confidence grows, you can move on to books written by native speakers. So, I warn you this takes time, and you’ll probably notice yourself zoning out for a while every few pages at first, but persistence pays off!
Go to language café
I will hold my hands up and admit that I spent the entire first term of my year abroad vowing to go to a language café, only to be too lazy, or to chicken out at the last minute. It wasn’t until my second semester that I have picked up this habit, and I am SO glad that I did. Language cafés are very common in European cities, and they allow people from all different nationalities to come together and improve their conversation in a desired language. At first, I thought the affair would be really formal and forced, but I ended up meeting some really nice people, and speaking in French conversation for more than two hours! If you try this technique, I promise you that you will leave the event feeling much more confident and proud of yourself. Learning a language can be very disheartening, so it’s so important to facilitate moments like this to boost your confidence!
Watch English films dubbed into your chosen language
So of course, watching films in the target language is a great way of improving your listening skills. But something I have found to be even more beneficial is watching Anglophone films dubbed with a French voiceover. Once you get over the annoyingly mismatched words and mouth movements, this can be a really great way of learning. I personally find it easier to understand and follow dubbed films because the dialogue is in translation, so I feel like it is more similar to how an English person speaks. If you want to make it even easier for yourself, make sure you watch a really cliché American drama, to be honest, you could probably watch those on mute and still know what they’re saying…
Listen to radio & music in your chosen language
One of the main tips my uncle gave me to help with my language learning was to listen to the radio. By keeping the radio or some music in your chosen language on in the background throughout parts of the day, you will improve your listening skills without even realising it. If nothing else, you might find a banging new song to play on repeat until you’re sick of it…
Et voilà, there’s my comprehensive guide on being lazy. Learning a language can be very stressful, so these little activities can really help to take the pressure off, whilst allowing you to keep improving all the time!
If anyone has any other tips they could give me on improving my language skills then I’d love to hear them in the comments!