As everyone (and their dog) will tell you, learning a foreign language takes quite a bit of effort and perseverance. And that is certainly true. The cold hard fact is that you need to put in the work if you want to see improvement in your language skills.
Luckily, however, there are also a couple of ways you can practise your target language without paying it too much attention and, in fact, without even noticing:
1. Listen to your target language
The easiest way to improve your target language without much effort is to surround yourself with the language. Of course, total immersion if the mother of this trick. However, you can still reap some of the rewards without embarking on a quest of immersing yourself completely.
For example, you can make it a rule to always have some media in your target language playing in the background. Listening to podcasts during your commute, having the TV on while you do your chores, or playing pop songs while eating are just a couple of ideas. Of course, passive listening, as it’s called, won’t get you to fluency by itself. You do also need to dedicate yourself to active listening. However, surrounding yourself with the language (especially if it’s casually spoken) will still help you get accustomed to its pace and stress patterns, improving your understanding.
2. Get HelloTalk
HelloTalk is a language learning app that will help you to chat with people who are native in your target language. However, unlike most penpal-type situations, you can use HelloTalk casually throughout the day. With this app, you don’t need to dedicate time to writing a complex text or idea. Instead, you can simply type responses a few words long and the app will even help you correct your grammar.
It’s especially useful when you’re first starting out with your target language. HelloTalk will be able to teach you the most common phrases you need in a casual conversation and native speakers can teach you the idioms and slang you won’t pick up from a book. You can read a longer review of the app here.
3. Get involved in the cuisine
Everyone knows that one of the best parts of learning a new language is getting to know a new culture. And especially the cooking culture! One of the most enjoyable ways to practise your target language is to eat your way to fluency.
You can look for recipes written in your target language or, for even more fun, find a good cooking channel on Youtube and cook together with the chef. That way you won’t only expand your culinary knowledge but practise your target language at the same time. You can also try to find a restaurant which serves dishes from the country where your language is spoken. Then you can delight the restaurant by trying to order in your target language.
4. Follow companies or celebrities on social media
Another easy way to get some authentic input is to follow people or firms that post on social media in your target language. Find someone you find funny or interesting and either Like their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
The short format most social media sites prefer will make sure the info isn’t overwhelming but you’ll keep up to date with interesting news or simply pick up some new vocabulary.
Conclusion – Find simple ways to improve your target language
Although these simple tricks won’t make you into a fluent speaker overnight, every little bit of practice adds up. Surrounding yourself with your target language will help to keep your brain focussed on its acquisition and, in the long run, will help you improve with less effort. Of course, none of these tricks will help you with your speaking skills, which you certainly do need to actively practise. For some help with your speaking skills, check out this guide on how to get practice even when you don’t feel confident.