Tag Archives: language learning

How the Internet Can Help You Learn a Language

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could speak, read, and write in another language? Each year, millions of people decide to learn a new language. And their reasons for doing so vary.

The internet is an excellent resource for many pursuits, and one such example is learning a new language. These days, it’s entirely possible to learn a new language using nothing more than your computer or smartphone and an internet connection

Here’s how you can use the internet to help you become fluent in another language:

App-Based Learning

One of the most common and convenient methods for learning a new language is using a dedicated app on your mobile devices. Look in the Apple App Store or Google Play, and you’ll discover hundreds of apps to help you become bilingual.

The apps offer varying levels of tuition and assistance, so if you’re a beginner or are at an intermediate stage, you’ll find an app best suited to your needs. Many apps are free to use, and some have inexpensive subscriptions to help you advance your learning.

Before you download an app, make sure to read its reviews in the relevant app store. That way, you can gauge whether it’s worth your time to download it or not.

Video Lessons

Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost everyone has had to do some level of learning online. These days, most people have become accustomed to online learning, and with that in mind, many have embarked on online language courses.

There are many expert language tutors online that will provide you with one-on-one language lessons via video chat software like Skype or Zoom.

An advantage of such learning is you’ll have the dedicated focus of your tutor instead of sharing it with a classroom of other students. That means you’re less likely to forget what you’ve learned as you get taught at a pace to suit your individual needs.

Internet TV and Newspapers

Because of COVID-19, travel to international destinations isn’t possible unless you’ve got an urgent reason for traveling. Ordinarily, it would have made sense to spend some time abroad in a country that speaks the language you are learning.

But, the next best thing is to watch local language TV programs and read foreign newspapers online. For example, the Jio TV app on your smartphone will let you see international programs and understand the context of words and phrases you’ve learned.

You can also read international newspapers online to find out more about how certain words and sentences get used in writing. Plus, you can always use the “translate” option in Google Chrome if you get stuck!

YouTube

Last but not least, a free and helpful resource for learning to speak and understand a new language is YouTube. There are hundreds of language tutors that upload thousands of language videos each day. The best part is you can watch all of that content for free!

So, if you’re planning to learn Spanish or any other language, and you’ve got a Google account, you can save each language channel to it. Then, whenever you visit the YouTube website, you can view the latest language videos.

Do you have any tips for studying a language online? Leave them below! xoxo

How to Put New Language Skills into Practice

I talk about lifelong learning a lot, and that includes learning languages! A second or even third language can open your mind in so many ways, as well as open doors to all kinds of new possibilities. So if you’re learning a language, how do you practice, how do you immerse yourself in that language to keep your skills fresh?

I am so grateful to have kicked off my love of language learning at a super young age. One thing I’ve come to realize over the years, however, is that YOU GOTTA USE IT OR LOSE IT. Cracking open a book will only get you so far! (File the following under: advice I give so that I’ll feel inclined to  practice what I preach, but…)

Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of your language practice.

Practical application

Okay, so if you don’t have anyone to practice your chosen language with, things can get pretty lonely. But if you’re stuck for a language partner there’s no harm having a conversation with yourself once in a while! For instance, turn cooking dinner into a reminder of kitchen and food vocabulary, or practice all you remember about shopping when you’re looking for a new outfit. You might also want to look into apps like Babbel or Duolingo to help you in your solitary language practice.

Literature and media

Now this tip comes from a recent Facebook post shared by Language Trainers. Thinking about starting a new book or  binge-watching a TV show? Why not choose one in the language you are learning! Okay, so a book might be a little daunting the first time you try it, but imagine all the language you might pick up just by reading a single page of a novel? Alternatively, if that is too much, a TV series or film with or without subtitles is an amazing way to practice your language at the same time as doing something fun. Netflix anyone?

[Related: Great YouTube Channel for Practicing Spanish!]

Language exchanges

Okay, so the suggestions so far have been pretty solitary pursuits; what’s the point of learning a language if you have no one to speak it with? Look in your area for language exchanges, or check online if there are groups nearby for language practice. Your local library might be a great place to start; even if they don’t host any events they might know somewhere that does!

Embrace the internet

The world is literally your oyster. You can have a real time conversation with a person on the other side of the planet if you wanted to (time zones and sleep schedules permitting, of course). One thing you could consider is downloading an app like HelloTalk to chat with native speakers from all over the world. In the classroom conversations can feel forced–you’re paired off with a classmate, told to discuss a specific topic, limited by a sheet of vocabulary words. But in our connected world you can seek out folks with similar interests and chat about anything under the sun. Something that will feel a lot more like a growing friendship than a group assignment.

Plan a vacation

The most rewarding way to practice a language you’re learning is to use it in a country where the language is spoken. Organize your next break away somewhere to visit a city you’ve always dreamed of; can you already picture yourself ordering some exquisite dinner looking out over landmarks you’ve only ever seen online? Imagine looking up all the museums, bars, or whatever you want to visit in the language you’re learning, and being able to read their websites with ease? How incredible would that feel? Put your hard work to good use and see this big, beautiful world of ours!

What languages are you learning? I’m a lifelong learner of Spanish and, after quite a long break, I’m dusting off my German skillz. Do you have any tips for making the most of a language practice? Or, better yet, got any Spanish- or German-language tv shows or YouTube channels you think I should check out. I’m all ears below! xoxo

Great YouTube Channel for Practicing Spanish (lifelong learning FTW!)

You KNOW I’m a huge proponent of lifelong learning. Well, living in Miami these last few years offered an amazing perk in that department. I got to practice Spanish pretty much every day! Now that we’ve moved to Alabama, these daily conversations in my non-native tongue are one of the things I miss most!

While I’d love to explore other options, I know that YouTube is an amazing (and FREE) resource for language learning. I recently stumbled upon the Spanish language channel Superholly (and the accompanying Superholly English).

If you’re interested in working on your Spanish skills, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Holly’s videos.

I especially love this recent video about her upbringing across countries and languages…

(Here it is in English…)

…because my childhood also included learning foreign languages and living in foreign countries. 🙂 And I have my parents to thank for that, too.

I also really enjoyed binge watching this series about Nahuatl…

How do you practice foreign languages as an adult? Do you ever use YouTube for immersion purposes? I’d love to hear!

P.S. YouTube channels for travel inspo and lifelong ballerinas!

mid-week round-up

pop of color bird

What are you up to this week, friends? My mom is flying down to visit us on Saturday, and I can’t wait to show her around. I hope she’s ready for lots of tropical plants and Cuban food! I just finished the book “Me Before You.” Have you read it? Chet’s mom mailed it to me the other day (Thanks!) and once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down. I’m looking forward to the movie! Hope you all have a wonderful day, and now check out these links…

A perfect cocktail for adult summer camp.

The female journalists on Hillary’s campaign trail.

How self-deprecation is taking over the internet.

For summertime travels.

Would you try The Pomodoro Technique?

How to make an origami corner heart bookmark.

If Hillary could go back in time to tell one person she’d been nominated for president…

An algorithm that unpacks the master rhymes in Hamilton.

Thoughts from a refugee camp.

Chicken, leek, and pea pasta bake.

How Hawaiian immersion schools saved the Hawaiian language.

9 contradictions to embrace for greater happiness.