Growing your vocabulary is essential if you want to truly converse well in a new language, but long lists of new words to memorize aren’t much fun. Endless drills may improve retention a bit, but actually applying the new words in a fun way will help students truly master them. These quick, easy, and fun tips make learning a second language fun and allow you to incorporate it into things you already enjoy doing.
1. Change Your Settings
Adjust the language setting on any app or site you use regularly to display content in the language you want to learn. Do this in Facebook and you’ll see all your familiar posts and places, but with brand new labels in your target language. You already know where to look to post, pin, tweet, or chat in a site you use regularly, so switching the display language helps you learn these new terms quickly and easily.
2. Play Games
Choose apps or games in the target language. Whether you are looking for a Spanish version of a board game, an English version of your favorite app, or you want to play a point-and-click adventure to boost your vocabulary, selecting a foreign language game will help. You can either change the language on games directly in the “settings” or “options” menu or choose games that use your target language as the primary option. Playing games that combine familiar goals and visuals with new terms is one of the easiest fun ways to learn a new language.
3. Make New Friends
Whether you’re using a dating site like Tinder or just choosing a random opponent on QuizUp or Words with Friends, chatting with someone in their native language can help build your skills. Most people are willing to help and enjoy speaking with someone learning their lingo and embracing their language.
4. Label Everything
Use temporary stickers or notes to label things in your home and office, from the clock on your wall to the pens on your desk. Seeing the correct word spelled out in your target language can help you pick up new vocabulary, and the posted notes are easily removed when you’ve mastered a new set of words.
Adding your target language to things you are already familiar with allows you to master new words in different ways, via reading, typing, and speaking. True mastery of a language includes understanding and communicating in a variety of ways, and finding fun ways to learn a new language can help boost language retention and mastery.
Photo Credit: Jorge Quinteros