Mastering Languages at Home

Guest blog post by Jhenifer L.

When studying a new language, immersion is the key word. Think of how kids learn to speak: they are immersed in their caregivers’ languages all day, and likely live in a place where this language is spoken wherever they go. That's how they pick up sounds, words, and grammatical concepts daily. But let's face it: as grown-ups, immersing ourselves is a bit trickier. Going abroad on an exchange program sounds great, but it can be expensive, and not everyone can take a long break from work or school for a language adventure.

But what if I told you you can still study from the comfort of your home sweet home? In this article, we'll explore five creative, practical, and inexpensive ways to make language learning part of your daily routine. And the best part? You can do it all without budging from your couch!

Talk to yourself

It might feel a bit unusual, but talking to yourself is a very effective way to put your language skills to practice. No external pressure, no judgment – just you, your thoughts, and all the time in the world to get those words or that pronunciation right. Talk about your day, tell yourself a funny story, get into a hypothetical argument with yourself, pretend you're giving a speech… the only limit is your imagination!

Here's a cool tip: record yourself doing this so you can play it back, and maybe catch a few things you can tweak. Maybe you'll notice that you're using fillers such as "like" excessively, or that a certain word needs a little work.

Use language exchange apps

Language exchange apps and websites like Tandem and HelloTalk connect language enthusiasts worldwide. These platforms are as easy to use as any other social media. The idea is to find someone who speaks the language you are learning and who is learning the one you speak – this way, you can engage in fun conversations with native speakers without having to hop on a plane!

It's a fantastic way to practice languages organically, make international friends, and exchange valuable feedback.

Watch YouTube and TikTok videos

The most common advice for studying languages at home has to be to watch movies in your target language. While I believe any method of immersion is valuable, movies don't always represent the way people actually speak. On platforms like YouTube and TikTok, however, you'll find an insane amount of vlogs and videos featuring real people talking about varied topics like they would talk to a friend.

You can even turn this typically passive activity into an active one by imitating the speech patterns of those in the videos. Simply hit pause after each sentence and try to reproduce their pronunciation, along with capturing the nuances of their intonation. You'll also pick up on a lot more slang and regional variations than you would with movies!

Read contemporary novels

Reading the classics tends to be the goal of every language learner, myself included. However, I strongly believe that delving into contemporary material exposes you to relevant vocabulary, keeps you up-to-date on colloquial expressions, and provides insights into recent events.

Let's take me as an exemple. Being passionate about French literature, I started reading Balzac and Victor Hugo as soon as I felt comfortable with the main time tenses in French. The problem was that, when I eventually moved to France, I found myself sounding like a "mamie" (grandma), and didn't feel like I was blending in with French people my age. It might have been just an impression, but my vocabulary progressively stopped sounding so old and refined, and that is mainly thanks to reading contemporary French novels on the subway back home from school. 

Get an online language tutor

Last but not least, getting yourself an online language tutor can help build that sense of routine that’s often lacking when we are working or studying from home. Thanks to technology, even the busiest people can now accommodate some time to work on their language skills. Plus, no need to deal with traffic or rearrange your entire work schedule when you’re just taking an hour-long class. Other than that, and maybe most exciting: you can now have classes with tutors (and classmates) from all around the world – and from the comfort of your own home!

Cricket eLearning offers online classes in more than 10 languages! Contact us today and start using the techniques above to reach your language goals this year. Use the code BLOG10 for 10% off group and individual prepaid packages for kids and adults!