How To Have Fun Learning a Language
When I started 6th grade, I was so excited to start taking French class...until about 3 minutes into the first session. It was nothing but rules, homework and learning boring songs meant for three-year-olds. I've learned more French from Disney movies than I did from that year of middle school classes. In 7th grade, I switched to Spanish, hoping that it might be a little more interesting. I stuck with it longer and I did learn a lot, but it still bored me to tears. Turns out, it wasn't the language that was the problem...
Now, I absolutely love learning languages. I've checked out everything from Norwegian to Korean, and am on my way to fluency in Nepali. But what if you're stuck learning a language you didn't choose, like the classes you have to take in school? You can keep yourself motivated - and maybe even enjoy learning! Here are some tips I've found that help me.
This is my favorite way to keep myself motivated while learning a language - listening to music in that language. This is good for a lot of reasons: you can try to pay attention to the lyrics and see if you understand any words. Or just put it on in the background; listening to the language being spoken/sung helps me with my accent a lot.
Most of all, it's just fun. Different countries have so many different awesome styles of music. Getting interested in them is a great step to getting immersed in the culture, which makes learning the language more rewarding.
Tunein radio is a great site/app for finding music from different countries. There are a lot of other online radio sources you can use for this, too.
Why are you learning another language?
Plan a Trip
Ok, so maybe you don't have the time or money to fly off to a foreign country in order to learn a language. But that's all right, you can still plan a trip there anyway.
Pick a country where they speak your target language. It'll be fun researching if there's more than one country to choose from. Learn about the culture, find the places you'd want to visit. You can even research the ticket prices and choose a hotel if you want. Borrow a travel guide from the library and look at all the pictures.
In the end? Well, you don't actually have to go, but the research can help you get excited about the language and motivate you to learn more. You may even decide you really do want to go there someday - an even better incentive!
Make Friends With Someone Who Speaks the Language
This is one of the greatest ways to learn a language - it's definitely the one that's helped me the most. Find someone whose mother tongue is the language you're learning and make friends with them - trust me, it's not that hard to do! It's way more fun practicing a language with someone you like and are comfortable with, and who can help correct your mistakes without making you feel stupid. Lots of people who speak English as a second language are happy to meet someone trying to learn their native language, so don't be shy!
So, focus on the fun parts. Yes, there might be times when you're unmotivated or bored out of your skull with homework and flashcards. But keep going! Learning a language is a really rewarding pursuit. High five!