Practice makes perfect as they say. It is easier said than done many of you may be thinking, however, with the resources available it is just a question of finding a few minutes a day.
It goes without saying that we all understand that a language is something we learn from personal experiences and interaction with the language itself. The language does not have to be live or from an actual conversation, videos, podcasts and audios are also use tools that we can learn from. But do we really understand how this is done?
In today’s globalized society we have enormous advantages over those of previous generations because we are just a click away from quality resources that can help us to learn a foreign language. We can read, listen and speak a language from the comfort of our own home at anytime, just by using our mobile or laptop. The problem usually consists of finding something that is useful to us.
With the abundance of media available on the internet and even streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+; we can have daily contact with our target language and immerse ourselves in another culture in any spare bit of time we can find throughout the day. All language learners know this little trick to learning “Practicing on a daily basis is essential, little by little, every day, you can learn something new”. The key is to incorporate it into your daily routine in a relaxed and enjoyable way.
I know that when I started learning Spanish and German, I wish I had had Netflix to be able to access movies and series with subtitles. I would have saved a fortune on language learning materials.
Marc. The founder of this site.
We should look at media, including social networks as our tool kit to being able to consume new language and experience new vocabulary at any time of the day. We all know that it is essential to have a fixed goal to stay focused in the lifelong process of learning a language, but it is also essential to have access to real content that will bring you closer to the language and the culture in a relaxed setting. We call this realia and is often taken advantage of by teachers in a class setting as a form of motivation.
Why is it so important to consume media when learning a language?
You can learn a lot from a teacher or from a native speaker in a language exchange, but let’s be honest, not all of us express ourselves as well as the majority of the stars of Hollywood. We can relate what we see and hear to other contexts and often use phrases and sayings as our own in general conversation. Media also gives us something to talk about when we meet someone new.
Media is our bridge to a new world that can reveal to us the way of thinking of other cultures and also let us know a little about their historical events or even the current events.
When we watch a movie or a series in a foreign language we are practicing the language in an entertaining way and let’s be honest, like with everything you want to learn, practice makes perfect. The more we learn, the more we understand. We should be looking for every possible opportunity to take in new language, whether we later try to study it, reinforce it or not. The use of media does not need to be a tiresome or stressful experience, it does not form part of an exam and that is the great thing about it.
The more we learn, the more we understand. It is as simple as that!
Media is also our source of material for areas of language learning that are often difficult to practice from home such as listening, due to lack of opportunities. When we listen to a soundbite from the BBC 6 minute news for example, we have this time just for us and learning. It really is a valuable opportunity that should be appreciated. Media gives us this opportunity and that is why it is so important.
The best way of approaching a foreign language is a mixture of various methods, to keep it interesting and light. In this way you will never stop learning.