Language learning is hard. Even the most motivated, committed person will have days where studying their chosen language is difficult. Have you ever had a tough, stressful week and then come home only to realize you ALSO have to study X language for X minutes? Expending the energy sometimes seems impossible.
That’s where lazy language learning comes in.
8 tips to learn a language the lazy way
Tip 1: Create a playlist on Youtube, Spotify, or Pandora
Create a playlist meant for menial chores like washing the dishes or commuting to work, another playlist with upbeat tunes for the gym, or a party playlist when you’re getting ready for a night out. By listening to these songs on repeat every week, you will unconsciously learn speaking patterns, slang, and reinforce native pronounciation.
Over a year ago, I created a playlist on Youtube of songs in German that I enjoyed listening to. My favourite genres are indie, folk, pop and rap. Some of my favourite German artists are Mark Forster, AnnenMayKantereit, Andreas Bourani and AlinCoenBand.
Tip 2: Listen to a podcast with topics that interest you
Are you interested in music, sports, politics, or current news? Find a podcast in the language you are learning! Choose a variety of podcasts in length and difficulty. For those days my brain is maxed out and I can’t fully concentrate on an hour-long podcast, I listen to these three minute Top Thema from the Deutsche Welle podcasts. When I have more time, I listen to an episode of Büchermarkt, a podcast about books, writing, and general news in the book world. For short podcasts with specific themes like sending food back in a restaurant, Deutsch Perfekt Podcast is perfect.
Tip 3: Watch a TV series or Film
Instead of binge-watching the newest of your favourite episodes, try a TV series or movie in your target language, even if it isn’t what you would normally pick out. I’m not a huge fan of action movies, but I love watching them in German and following along. For me, learning new words and the success of keeping up with a film is more important than sticking within my preferred genre. Bonus points if you can discuss your opinions about the film after!
Tip 4: Create a piece of art with new vocabulary words
Are you a tactical learner? Try painting new vocabulary words with their respective images! Not only is this a fun, relaxing activity, it can also reinforce those tricky words that just won’t stick.
Tip 5: Have a 15 minute conversation
If you aren’t lucky enough to have a conversation with a native speaker in person, head to the web for an online language exchange. You can type in your level and speak with a person learning your native language as well. Italki is one of the top rated websites for language exchange partners.
Tip 6: Write about your day
Start a journal in the language you are learning! Write about your day, plans for the week, and goals for the future. If you’re having a rough day, write about your frustrations. Check back in a month to see how much you have improved!
Tip 7: Cook or bake using recipes
An easy way to get more practice with the language you are learning is to cook or bake using a recipe written in that language. Find and follow an easy recipe and enjoy the fruits of your labor afterward. I use ChefKoch, recipes from German magazines and recipes my mother-in-law sends me.
Tip 8: Read a book, magazine, comic, or news story
Grab a cup of tea or coffee, snuggle up and read a comic or magazine in the language you are learning. If you have a Kindle, Nook, or Kobo, search for reading material! The best reading material will be something you are interested in and that is slightly above your current level. If you are just starting out, choose children’s book with plenty of illustrations.
Which of these tips has worked for you? Which tip are you interested in trying? Let’s talk about it. Tell me in the comments!