This post was most recently updated on October 25th, 2023
[A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
Finding the time to do daily language practice is one of the hardest things when learning a language.
As a freelance translator, I always try to find time to learn new vocabulary every day. You don’t need to spare more than 15-30 minutes every day to learn a new language, and you can slip that daily language practice around other tasks like eating, watching TV, reading, etc.
But with our busy lives and the never-ending list of things to do, we often pushed our daily language practice to the sidelines of something a little more pressing.
I’ve read a lot on my social media timeline, “Do you know how busy my schedule is?” or something like “You do realize that I have a life to live, right?” But, my fellow learners, if you want to be bilingual, daily language practice doesn’t have to take any time out of your day.
5 Ways To Get Daily Language Practice
It will take a whole lot longer to master a new language, seems like an endless task, am I right? “Is there a way to make a day longer than 24 hours?” you ask. Well, of course not.
You can slip that daily language practice around the other tasks like eating, watching TV, reading, etc. To be honest, between these activities, there’s a bit of downtime where you might find yourself scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed. The most obvious time? On your lunch or coffee break.
If you’re anything like me, you drink a lot of coffee during the day. I have 5 ideas here on how these activities won’t take more than 15 minutes and they will provide you with a great way to slip in some daily language practice even with your never-ending to-do list.
Play a game
Learning a language should be fun. Games are fun, and you can learn a lot from them. Pick a game that you can actually practice and learn from, and take 5-10 minutes to complete a level.
Pick a game that you can actually practice and learn from. Take 5-10 minutes to complete a level or whatever it is. Not only play games, but you can also have a quick run-through of a language-learning app.
Watch movies with or without subtitles
Watching your favorite English movies or TV shows can provide you with an educational twist. I like to spend my evenings watching Netflix. This can help me build my vocabulary and improve my listening skills in an effective and fun way.
If you’ve been studying a new language for a while, you should consider turning off the subtitles when watching a movie in your target language. It’s perfectly normal to feel that you’re missing half of the dialogue. The more practice you get, the more you’ll master it.
I always enjoyed learning English through movies and series since I was twelve, simply because they’re full of phrasal verbs and colloquial expressions, typical of spoken English. I think it gives me a closer look at how native speakers actually talk in casual interactions. All it takes is just a comfortable place, a cup of coffee, and your computer or TV.
Listen to a podcast
I listened to a lot of podcasts lately, but my favorite would be about mystery cases or unsolved cases/mysteries.
Podcasts are a great way to practice listening comprehension and get used to the sound of your target language. You can find one on almost any topic. They’re also a great way to fill the small pockets of time that occur in your daily schedule. Waiting for your coffee to brew? Listen to a podcast.
Flick through a dictionary
Since I started working as a translator, I’ve encountered new words every time I read something. I always open an online or offline dictionary every day.
The thing to remember here is to not fill your head with words that you’re never going to use. Instead, flick through to words you learned yesterday or turn to phrases you’ve been wondering about for ages. Write down a list of words you’d like to practice and learn the meaning of beforehand so you have some focus.
Until now I still have difficulty distinguishing the meaning of some words in English. For example, the difference between ‘home’ and ‘house.’ Thanks to Google, I know how to tell them apart.
When you are in need of a translation service for your website or project, hiring a professional one would be a great help for your business rather than using Google Translate. Why? Machine translators are not always accurate and they can’t keep up with cultural differences. Human translators are performed by a trained professional and give your documents a human touch.
Read as much as you can
When someone asked me how can I speak English, I replied that I read a lot. I also suggested that you can use any activity in your daily life as a learning opportunity, such as scrolling on social media or reading fun facts about nature and animals on BBC Earth.
This is a great activity to keep our brains active. The important thing is that you don’t need to stick to textbooks. If you pick something you enjoy, the results will be even better.
Reading can be laughter-filled and still be educational. Comics are a great choice because they use common expressions, phrasal verbs, and slang. I use my 15-20 minutes to read historical comics and interestingly enough, I got plenty of vocabulary from reading them.
You can take any activity in your daily life as a learning opportunity. Do you like spending time scrolling on social media? Follow pages that publish content in English. I like reading fun facts about nature and animals on BBC Earth.
When studying a new language (English, for me) I find it useful to be exposed to as much content in the language as possible. I would go as far as changing my phone’s language.
How do you practice a new language? Is there any fun method you have? Share with me below.