10 Social Ways to Learn a Language


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Want to practice speaking in the language you're working so hard to learn? Finding native speakers to practice with can be a challenge, so we've come up with 10 ways to interact with your new language and the people who speak it!

Published in: Education, Technology

10 Social Ways to Learn a Language

  1. 1. 10 Social Ways to Learn a Language Lizzie Davey
  2. 2. Lots of people think learning a language is a lonely process that is all about dry textbooks and memorizing phrases that you would never use in a real situation, but this is simply not the case! In fact, learning a language can be a very fun and social process if you know where to look…
  3. 3. Couch Surfing “To couch-surf” has become a well-known verb in the last few years. The couch-surfing site has two functions: • Home-owners can open up their couches to guests • Travelers from around the world can find one of these couches to surf (or just sleep) on! Best part? Via an advanced search option, you can find people who speak your target language to crash with!* *Be sure to use your good sense and caution to select someone, of course.  Photo credit: foka kytutr, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/kytutr/1106538282/
  4. 4. Study or Work Abroad One of the best ways to learn a language is to surround yourself with it, and force yourself to use it! Almost every college or university has a study abroad program that will surround you with like-minded students who speak your target language. Finding a job abroad can be tricky, but if you find the right opportunity, you’ll boost your professional language skills and internationalize your resume at the same time! Photo Credit: LeafLanguages, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/76708317@N02/6966675886/
  5. 5. Intercambio Sessions The best immersion environments are natural social hangouts. Cue Intercambio, a website that allows speakers of multiple languages to connect with each other. At an Intercambio session, a group of people who speak two different language (such as Spanish and English) get together to practice whichever language they are learning. Spanish speakers show up to speak English, whereas English speakers show up to speak Spanish, for example. The best part? Everyone is speaking their second language, and the atmosphere is very casual, so there’s no pressure or fear of messing up! Photo credit: l.bailey_beverley, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/leebailey/5239107902/sizes/z/in/photostream/
  6. 6. Festivals and cultural events are a great way to semi-immerse yourself. Even if it’s in your home country, it’s still highly likely that local native speakers will be there to practice with. The best part? You get to practice the language while learning more about the customs, food, music, art, etc. of your country of interest! Photo credit: For a de Eixo, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/foradoeixo/7672439220/
  7. 7. Film Evenings Foreign language films are a fun way to absorb your target language. Step it up a notch and invite other language learning friends over, so you can discuss the movie afterwards in the target language! If you want, choose a film with English subtitles, but don’t rely too heavily on them! Just focus on listening. Photo Credit: BMW Guggenheim Lab, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/bmwguggenheimlab/8358268203
  8. 8. Search for like-minded learners who want to get out and about while still using the language. Plan fun activities like going to a theme park or hiking on a nice day to keep the pressure low, but remind everyone that English is not allowed! Photo Credit: 350.org, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/4099858969
  9. 9. One-on-One Lessons You might want to arrange one-on-one tutoring sessions with a native speaker to improve your conversation skills. If you can’t find a tutoring service, you might be able to find a native speaker looking to learn English, and exchange your knowledge. Photo credit: wonderlane, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/37531816
  10. 10. Much like the film evening concept, a book club provides an opportunity to converse in your new language. The best part? In addition to the practice reading and speaking in the language, you may also get to learn more about the culture of the language, depending on book selection. Photo credit: loomy, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/43827512@N00/292039065
  11. 11. The internet is one of the best ways to connect with native speakers of your target language. • Do a language exchange via Skype • Follow Twitter feeds of native speakers and practice reading their tweets and responding to them • Connect with native speakers on Facebook and interact with them • Subscribe to language blogs and leave comments in the target language Photo credit: carloszardoya, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/carloszardoya/5466335755
  12. 12. Fall In Love Almost everyone wants to fall in love anyway, right? We’re not kidding, falling in love with a native speaker is one of the best ways to learn a language! There’s nothing more motivating than wanting to interact with your beloved and their friends and family! Best part? You’ll have your own private teacher! Photo credit: beautiful lily, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/stacylynn/4625276934
  13. 13. Want more language learning tips from Lizzie Davey? Check out her accompanying blog post. She also writes for GEOS Languages Plus about the language learning process and how to make it less work and more fun! Want more language learning tips from Transparent Language? The first steps toward being more social are to follow our blog, connect with us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter! We look forward to hearing from you!