Learn A Language in Lockdown
62% of British people only speak English but many of us would like to learn a second language.
Now is your opportunity! It's not just for holidays - having a good grasp of a second language is also an in-demand work skill. There are some creative ways to learn. Follow our ten tips, and by the time we fully come out of lockdown, you could have a working grasp of a second language.
Pick a Language you have a reason to learn
Was there a language at school you have a start in you would like to pick up again, or do you want to try something totally new? For English Speakers - German and English share similar roots, English also has an overlap with the Romance languages such as Spanish, French and Italian. From a work-skills perspective - Spanish is the official language of over 21 languages, making it the most spoken language after Mandarin Chinese.
Even languages that seem impractical can still bring you the joy and benefits of learning. A smattering of Latin or Ancient Greek will open up a new understanding of the etymology of many modern languages, not to mention classic literature, while Klingon and Elvish are niche but growing in popularity with online communities and convention meet-ups.
Use an App
The most common first step. Many apps like Babbel or DuoLingo have a free level and are fun to use. They work on the scientific basis that the best way to learn is with a little regular practice at intervals, and use gamification to keep you engaged.
Join a Class
Even if we can't physically go to college at the moment, find out if there are online classes you can join - this could be as simple as a self-organising group sharing resources, or a structured paid for class with tutorials, homework and exams.
With some stickers and access to the internet you could label all your food in your language of choice.This a great way to absorb key vocab unconsciously – and you will be learning the terms for all the foods you like and actually eat! Don’t stop at tins - label light-switches, microwaves and windows and you'll have unconsciously learnt the right words for every-day objects with almost no effort in a short time!
Take it Slow
Training your ear to understand native-level speech takes time. There are lots of other language videos on sites like youtube that you can play these videos at slower than normal speed to help you catch what is meant. You can also get audio-books in a second language and play it slow - maybe start with a book you already know well.
Turn on Subtitles
If you are stuck in having a DVD marathon anyway, why not switch on subtitles in the language you are learning? (or maybe the whole audio track if available?) You can open yourself up to a whole world of great films - check out 'La Haine' in french, 'Parasite' in Korean, or the films of Almodóvar in Spanish.
Hold the Front Page
Check the headlines in the online versions of foreign-language newspapers in your target language. If you are looking to relocate for work, or visit a place on holiday, this is also a great way to become familiar with nuances of everyday language and local events.
Make an Amigo
The best way to learn is with a native level speaker – check out online communities to find someone in another country who would be willing to have a weekly video chat with you.
Use your Hands!
Want to try something different? Learn sign language online! Start with the alphabet, then add in words and phrases. Being able to introduce yourself and say thank you in sign-language could make someone's day. As a bonus- many signs are similar in more than one language, so there is a still a foreign language element.
Only for the Brave...
Change your phone language to your target language! As you navigate from memory you will be picking up important terms. Just make sure you remember where the language controls live - at least until you pickup what's Mandarin for "Change back to English…"
Learning a second ( or third, or fourth...) language can be hugely rewarding, doesn't need to be a chore, and with a little time and persistence you might surprise yourself with the progress you can make. Looking to work abroad? Find your next international job on Monster here