Language Learning at Your Fingertips

Contrary to common thinking, language learning need not be confined to a classroom or when you fire up your favorite language software. Fact is, there are dozens of opportunities for language learning right in your fingertips. Here are some of them:

Contrary to common thinking, language learning need not be confined to a classroom or when you fire up your favorite language software. Fact is, there are dozens of opportunities for language learning right in your fingertips. Here are some of them:

1. Pen pals. Every time I open Craigslist, I see tons of people all over the world looking for people to talk with over email, chat and other mediums. Don’t worry, not all of them are naked, hairy men in their mom’s basements. In fact, many of them are just looking to practice their own language skills like you. Why not connect with those people and get some applied writing done in your target language?

2. Restaurants. When you’re learning French, try visiting a French restaurant in your locale; same with Italian, ロゼッタストーン Dutch or any other language you’re trying to learn. While language training is probably not part of the menu, there are tons of things you can pick up from there. Sure, the waiters probably speak only local like you, but the menus will frequently have translations in both English and the target language (you can compare), there will be signs and decors in the target language (most of the time, you can ask the waiters and they’ll know what it means) and many of the customers will likely be native speakers (if you’ve been wondering where to find fluent speakers of the language near you, here’s a good place to start). Most of the time, the manager or the owner will be someone who actually speaks the target language too. You can pester them and they’ll be nice to you – you’re a customer, after all.

3. Foreign films. Hit the local video store and rent a film in the target language. Heck, visit YouTube to find videos recorded in the language you’re learning and you’ll probably turn up a lot of results. The experience of watching native speakers interact will boost your acquisition manifold, even they’re just acting.


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