“Language courses are so expensive and complicated,” said the guy from the 1940s.
Today, information is transmitted at the speed of light and at the price of air. Information has become so universal that you won't even need to waste two whole minutes Googling about free language courses on the internet. There are a million ways to learn French, Korean, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and more for free online these days. Not to mention educational websites are doing it with huge smiles on their faces.
You can find free books, ebooks, podcasts, videos – all related to the language that you most badly want to learn. And guess what, you can access all of it at home with the click of a mouse or a tap of the touch screen. So I suggest you find a better excuse than “It's too expensive,” because that's not gonna fly in this day and age.
That being said, there are numerous ways in which you can make your language learning fun and interesting, all while sitting at the comfort of your couch.
1. The best ways of studying and having fun at the same time is watching a lot of TV shows or movies or YouTube videos in your chosen language. This is extremely useful because it allows you to learn the most commonly used phrases and helps you improve your pronunciation. A lot of people get good results learning Japanese from anime and Korean though K-dramas and K-pop. On top of that, if you're anything like me, you might just fall in love with anime and K-pop and spend your days fangirling over them.
2. Try switching your social media accounts and TV channels to your preferred language. That way, you can be as much of a social media addict as you want, while still learning how to recognise and read words of the language and use it to interact with others.
3. Read articles and books in the language you're trying to learn and keep notes on them. You can find loads of articles and websites dedicated to these online for free. They're just a Google search away.
4. One of the best ways of practicing a foreign language is making friends who are native speakers of that language. Not only are you going to make new friends, but you'll get to practice speaking the language with an actual native speaker, which is really the goal when you're learning a new language.
5. A lot of you might be getting discouraged because you're too introverted to actually make foreign friends in real life, but don't worry, I've been there too. Apps like HiNative and Duolingo are great for making international friends online for language learning purposes and you don't even have to talk to them face-to-face!
6. If you can't talk to a native speaker, talk out loud to yourself, record it, and play it back to improve.
7. Listen to music in the new language. Even if you don't understand the lyrics at first, don't worry, there are tons of translations online in all the major languages and as they say, “music has no bounds, it transcends all languages”. So just enjoy the beat, and before you know it, you'll be singing along to them in the middle of the night.
8. Stop stressing about grammar, instead analyse the grammar rules and try to use flashcards and cheat codes to memorise the major ones. Most languages usually have only a few major grammar rules, the rest can be figured out on your own or just not necessary in daily conversations.
9. Try inspiring your friends to learn the language with you. As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one”. It's always better to learn something with a companion. Before you know it, you'll be able to speak to each other in dual languages, leaving your peers confused and wanting to join in your “secret” conversations.
Most of all, it's necessary that you want to learn the language. If you look at learning a language as a task, it will be hard. But once you see it as a game or a way to broaden your horizons and learn about different cultures, you'll start having fun. Don't be scared to make mistakes. Practice every day or as often as possible. Don't give up!