If you want to learn a new language, but the thought of studying grammar books and flipping through a stack of flash cards is keeping you from pursuing your goal, don’t worry. There are plenty of fun and interesting ways to pick up a foreign tongue. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, most of the real work with learning a new language comes from immersion, interest, and ultimately usage.
So, without further ado, here are seven fun activities you can do to help improve your ability to understand and communicate with other people in another language:
1. Play video games. If you want to get a virtual immersive experience then try playing video games in your target language. You will have to figure out the language pretty quickly if you want to play the game well.
2. Watch a movie. Create a list of your favorite movies and find as many as you can dubbed in your target language. It’s better to get movies you are familiar with even if you’ve never actually seen them, because it will give all the dialogue some context. Once you’ve settled on a collection of titles, you can have a movie night or even a movie marathon. Just sit back and relax and pick up what you can.
3. Listen to music. This is another great tip especially for people who learn new information well through their sense of hearing. Find music you love in the target language and create a collection of various songs. Listen to them when you go out for a walk, jog, or during your morning commute. If you are by yourself, try to sing along. It will help you with the language’s pronunciation and intonation.
4. Talk to native speakers. Where possible, hang out at cafes, libraries, malls, bars, and other locations where people speak your target language and try to start up a simple conversation with some of them. You can also do this online via Skype sessions with native speakers. Some great platforms to check out are italki, My Language Exchange, and Interpals.
5. Join a social network or group. What you are passionate about? Coding… martial arts… graphic design… the World Cup…? Find a group of equally passionate native speakers and join them! Like the tip above, it will give you the opportunity to make simple, contextual conversation with the speakers of your target language.
6. Eat at an ethnic restaurant. If you live next to a city or even a major university, you may be able to find a local restaurant that is owned and operated by native speakers of your target language. You can learn the names of a few new foods, make conversation with the owner, and soak up a little culture.
7. Become a kid again. Read your favorite children’s books and comics and spend a little time listening to some children’s songs. The words and grammar will be basic and easy to understand; plus it may bring up some cozy childhood memories.
Learning a new language doesn’t have to be a chore that quickly gets pushed aside. It can be an enjoyable activity to approach in a fun new way.