Finding a hobby you love can be a real happiness boost and an enjoyable part of living life well. For many of us, learning a language offers a fun and fulfilling hobby that you can start at any age. Whatever your motivation, be it a family connection, simply interest in a particular country or a desire to keep your brain active, there are lots of entertaining ways to improve that don’t involve poring over verb tables or vocabularly lists.
Fun ways to improve if you’re learning a language
- Play games – Duolingo is the most popular language learning app and offers around 40 languages for English speakers to learn. You could also try switching language settings on any online games you enjoy, or try playing a word-based board game like ‘Articulate’ with other learners.
- Listen to music – streaming services like Spotify have international playlists, often with lyrics for you to read. There are also apps which let you listen live to radio stations from around the world.
- Watch videos on youtube – there’s a wealth of content for language learners. From vlogs about ‘a day in the life’ of someone in the country where the language is spoken, to cookery lessons or book clubs, the choice is enormous.
- If you love cooking, you could try a recipe from a foreign language website or cookbook.
- If your goal is to speak more fluently, it’s easy to arrange online lessons with a native speaker. Of course, you could also do this face to face, if that’s possible for you.
- Most foreign language newspapers have websites so you can read some content online; if you enjoy sport, perhaps you could follow a particular team through the season.
- Watch tv – many streaming services like Netflix have foreign languge content and you can change the subtitles to the language you’re learning, too. You could start with something you’re familiar with, like a cartoon, and swap the language of the soundtrack.
- Follow the blogs of other people learning the same language as you. There are lots of bloggers who talk about their language-learning journey, and it can be a great way to pick up recommendations for books to read, films to see and other resources.
suggestions from our friends
We’ve turned to some of our friends to ask for their ideas, too. Wyn, who is learning Italian, suggests thinking about your other interests, as you’re more likely to retain vocabulary if you read and find out about things you enjoy, perhaps food, wine or art. He also finds podcasts a great way to learn, with a good selection available on streaming services like Spotify or Apple podcasts.
For our friend Louise, who’s learning French, attending events with other learners or even going away on study holidays are good ways to spend some more intensive time practising the language, while meeting new people and finding out more about the country’s culture.
If you’re a language enthusiast, what are your top tips? Do let us know in the comments.
Until next time, au revoir!
Claire and Sam