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For the last few years, I’ve been harbouring a burning desire to learn a new language. One language in particular: French. I know, I know. French is difficult, what with it consisting of mostly vowels… and what’s up with it’s numerical system? I’m getting sidetracked. The point is that this has been a dream of mine for a number of years now, and I’ve decided that 2020 is the year of language liberation, prompting some research on the most efficient ways to learn a new language.

Get technical

I’m all for tech, especially if it’s on-hand and easy to use. My favourite way to grab a couple of easy, educational minutes is through Duolingo, but if Duo the big green owl creeps you out a little, you can also check out Rosetta Stone or Memrise, among many others.

I love using mobile language-apps for the simple reason that they are super easy to pick up when you have a minute to spare or some time to kill.

Watch and listen

So a little fun fact about this redhead: I watch animé! My boyfriend and I even found a cute French animé-style series on Netflix by the name of Wakfu which we watched in the original language with the subtitles on. I found that it really helped with learning how to pronounce the words, how to string sentences together, as well as word association. Netflix is your friend when it comes to some great foreign-language films.

Belt it out

Struggling with the pronunciation of your chosen language? Try singing in it! Whether it’s Disney covers, nursery-rhyme songs that have been translated or pop songs that have been written in the language, singing along in the language you’re trying to learn will help you get your mind (and tongue) around the trickier words and phrasing. Give it a go, we won’t judge.

Keep a diary

More than just keeping track of your day-to-day activities, keeping a journal helps you to become familiar with the vernacular or more casual way of speaking, learning newer words that you wouldn’t ordinarily use, and helps with understanding the sentence structure of the language you’re trying to learn. You also have the opportunity to go back and keep track of how your understanding of the language has improved.

Join a club, make friends

If you’re keen to join a club and chat to other people who are learning, just like you, check out language clubs offered in South Africa. I love this idea because while you get to socialise, you also have the chance to practise the language without feeling as though you’ll be judged for mispronouncing something. If you’re keen to learn Spanish, check out Colegio Espanol, or Alliance Francais for something French.

Challenge yourself

Similar to a 30 day photography challenge, a foreign language challenge offers you the opportunity to do something every day to improve your skill. Whether it’s challenging yourself to a new word, watching a YouTube video or captioning a social media post in a new language, a 30 day challenge gives you the opportunity to experiment and play around with learning a new language without the hassle of a full-length lesson.

If all else fails, get a babel fish.


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