We are all lazy sometimes. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, laziness is often seen as something negative but you could also call it efficiency. At least, that’s what you can tell yourself while crashed out on the sofa watching rubbish TV because the remote is just slightly out of reach. When it comes to language learning, laziness can save you a lot of time and energy, and here is how to do it.
Learn while relaxing
Chilling out in front of the TV can be one of the best ways to learn a language. By watching your favourite series in the language you are learning, or with subtitles, you can improve your listening skills and pick up colloquialisms and phrases that you can use as if you were a native speaker. And it’s not just TV and film. Listening to the radio, or even having your foreign language radio on in the background is a great way to improve your language skills with minimal effort. For example, you can try falling asleep listening to slowly spoken German radio, not because it’s boring (although it is more effective than counting sheep), but because by listening as you fall asleep, your mind processes new words without even trying.
Take it easy
Learn one word a day. Now that doesn’t sound too strenuous, does it? It doesn’t even have to be a long complicated word, just try to use it in conversation so it sticks. And before you know it you’ll be impressing your friends with your extensive range of vocabulary.
Learn key phrases
If you just want to know enough of a language to get by in day-to-day situations, to begin with anyway, then just learn some key phrases. It’s easier than conjugating verbs and trying to invent grammatically correct sentences on the spot. Then, as you improve, you can think about how these phrases could be played with and modified to form longer sentences and seemingly natural conversations. And if you’re feeling really lazy, and more than two words at a time seems like a struggle, learning how to say “may I?” in your foreign language is really all you need. Accompanying hand gestures may be required, but you’ll sound polite and maybe also fluent to those who don’t know any better.
These days most of us own a smartphone, and it’s a tool that can be used to good effect when learning a language. Just doing 10 minutes on a language learning app can have great benefits. Perfect for when you’re sat waiting for the bus or distracting yourself from the advert break during a TV show. And always having access to a good online dictionary can be a lifesaver. But be warned, using an online translator is not a lazy way to learn a language; you won’t actually learn any language with that method.
Don’t study, just go grab a beer
Instead of spending hours studying grammar and reading vocab lists, just go out with your friends. If you have friends that speak the language you’re learning, it can be the best and, more importantly, easiest way to learn a language. You can learn more by just hanging out with friends at a bar than with a grammar book. Beer helps.
Laziness as motivation
Laziness itself can also often make you do things. The fact that we are lazy can be great motivation to get out there and make an effort. Say to yourself “No, that’s enough laziness” then take a few active steps to learn the language. Also, it’s easier to speak the language if you speak the language. Think about it. Way less stressful. So, if you want to do it, just do it. If not, enjoy your laziness, no one is forcing you to do anything.
Leaving rainy Plymouth to move to cold and rainy Hamburg, Joseph has been trying to pronounce ridiculously long German words ever since. If he’s not drinking a cool Weizenbier he spends his time on his bike or reading books by the river. Now working at the online language portal bab.la.