12 Awesome Reasons to Learn a Second Language
How many languages do you speak? One? Four perhaps?
One of the best (and most fun) ways to learn a language quickly is to travel to a place where people speak it daily.
This method of learning is called language immersion and the main reason why it is considered so effective is that it allows new language learners to get used to using their language skills in casual, spontaneous, and daily conversation.
Surrounding yourself with a language “forces” you to engage with it and learn how to think in that language and use it automatically to communicate, which is basically what it means to be “fluent”. So, immersion programs are a fast and fun way to learn a new language.
Immersion programs usually last a month at least and not everyone has the time or ability to basically uproot themselves to go to another country to participate in one of these programs. Don’t worry, however, as there are ways to do language immersion at home.
If you want to immerse yourself in a language and gain fluency at home, here are a few things you can try.
One of the reasons that language immersion is so effective is that it makes sure that you are exposed to the language daily. If you want to get some language immersion at home, you need to make sure you get a daily “dose” of exposure to the language you want to learn.
Subscribing to foreign-language news sites is a good way to make sure that you are immersed in a language daily. You can try subscribing to a foreign language newspaper and reading that along with your local paper as you eat your breakfast in the morning.
You should also make a point of going to one or two foreign language news websites at least once a day. You should also be able to find clips or even whole news shows from around the world online. Look for one in the language that you are trying to learn and get your dose of the news that way.
Don’t just stick to the headlines or world news, however, try reading the local or community news as well as the sports and entertainment news. That way you are not just getting exposed to the language, you’re also getting some “local color” and gaining some insight into the daily lives and concerns of native speakers.
You might have heard that watching YouTube language learning videos is a good way to pick up the language, that is not wrong. However, it’s also not the only reason why you should watch YouTube videos in another language.
Aside from language learning YouTube videos, you should also look for YouTube videos that just happen to be in another language. Watching YouTube videos of say the local news or clips from a comedy show or of a telenovela or even just a cooking show or a make-up tutorial is a fun and interesting way to get some language immersion at home.
Choose a YouTube video on a subject that you are interested in and watch it through. If there are subtitles, try watching with subtitles as well. The important thing is you watch one or two videos or YouTube channels daily, this will immerse you in the language, test your listening comprehension, and expose you to how native speakers really talk.
Who knows, you might also pick up a great new recipe to try for your next family potluck!
Listening to language learning podcasts is a good way to supplement your regular language lessons with an online tutor. You can listen to a language learning podcast on the days that you don’t have a scheduled lesson or just when you have a few minutes of spare time.
Much like with YouTube videos, podcast episodes are a good way to immerse yourself in a language. You can find podcasts that are specifically designed to teach a language, but you can also find podcasts that cover other subjects. You can choose to either follow a language learning podcast or just download a few interesting sounding podcast episodes in the language you’re looking to learn.
The advantage that podcasts have over YouTube videos is that first of all, you can listen to a podcast on a mobile device – so you can listen while walking or stuck in traffic or waiting in line at the doctor’s office. Secondly, you can download podcast episodes, so you don’t have to be connected to the internet to listen.
Audiovisual materials have always been a popular learning tool because they are a great way to keep learners engaged. Watching a short video on a subject can be a lot more stimulating than listening to a teacher drone on in front of a classroom. By keeping your attention, a video might be more successful in getting you to understand and memorize key concepts.
Audiovisual materials have always been a popular language-learning tool. Many language teachers will show short videos on a subject to their students in the hope that they will absorb the lessons in the videos. It’s also a good way to expose them to the language.
One of the best ways to learn a language on your own takes a cue from language teachers and exposes you to “audiovisual” materials to immerse you in the language. Instead of videos, however, you can now watch actual TV shows or movies in another language to get some language immersion at home.
With the rise of streaming services such as Netflix, it’s now easier than ever to find TV series and movies from around the world that you can watch. Watching say Spanish telenovelas or Portuguese movies on Netflix is a great way to immerse yourself in another language – without leaving your home and on the comfort of your couch. Don’t forget the popcorn!
Reading books in another language is a great way to improve your reading comprehension and gain an appreciation of the beauty of other languages. Books written by authors in their native languages also contain some great insights into the “normal” daily life and culture of native speakers and give you a window into how they think and feel.
Reading books in another language, be they books that were written in that language or books that were translated into another language, can be a great way to expose yourself to the language. This is why books can be a valuable resource for you to get some language immersion at home.
While reading books can help improve your reading comprehension and your ability to write in another language, you can also use audiobooks to immerse yourself in the language. Audiobooks also have the added bonus of improving your listening comprehension.
Audiobooks are also a great way to get language immersion at home through language shadowing. Just find a good park or walking trail near your home, queue up a chapter of your favorite book in another language, and go for a language shadowing walk. Get some exercise, fresh air, and immerse yourself in another language.
A key reason why language immersion programs are so effective is the fact that it ensures that you not only hear the language daily, but you are made to have conversations in that language daily. Having conversations, engaging in a language, and creating a dialogue in that language tests your language skills and improves your ability to communicate.
If you can’t travel to another country for a language immersion program, you can still try and get some conversation practice by finding a language exchange partner. In a language exchange, you basically make a deal with a native language speaker to “meet up” online and have conversations in the language that you are trying to learn.
With a language exchange partner, you get a chance to have regular conversations in the language you are trying to learn. This allows you to immerse yourself in the language for at least a couple of hours every week. It also allows you to practice your conversational skills in real-time.
Do you know who makes an excellent language exchange partner? An online native language speaking tutor like the ones you can find on JustLearn. JustLearn is a community of native-speaking online language speakers and language learners.
JustLearn tutors offer lessons in their native languages and a big part of this is conversation practice. Booking regular lessons with one of their tutors will enable you to get the conversation practice you need in the comfort of your home at times which is convenient for you.
Having regular lessons and conversations with an online tutor allows you to get valuable language immersion at home. Your tutor will also be able to provide you with real-time feedback to improve your ability to communicate, so when you do get the chance to travel to another country you will have the confidence you need to make friends and cultivate valuable partnerships.
How many languages do you speak? One? Four perhaps?
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