We’re in the age of social media. If asked “how much time do you spend on social media per day?”, most people have an answer along the lines of “way too much time”. Many people aren’t even aware of how much time they actually spend scrolling that news feed. When you have the goal of learning a new language, you can either fight against social media by reducing the amount of time you use it every day, or you can make it your greatest ally. Option two works better for most people, so stick around and we’ll show you how to use social media to your advantage.
The first thing people think of when using social media is to change the language of a certain site in the settings. For example, if you set your Facebook language to French, you will see “Accueil” instead of “Home” and “John a partagé” instead of “John shared“, and a few words here and there. This can be helpful to learn a few words, but the truth is that the words you will learn may not be very common for daily conversations. It won’t make a really big impact on your language skills. The real impact comes from actually sharing with people either directly or indirectly. In social media, we usually see three main things: posts shared by your friends, posts from groups, organizations or people that you follow, and promoted posts. We need to take advantage of all three types of posts.
You probably already follow a bunch of pages that you are interested in. You may be interested in things like “travel”, “football” or “swimsuit models”, and you see posts from these pages every day without thinking about it. You see articles, videos, memes, vines etc. If you choose to follow pages of interest in your target language instead of your native language, your social media page will be covered in all kinds of posts. Being bombarded by these things every day will effortlessly help you learn the language. Make sure you join as many groups as you can think of. In YouTube, subscribe to a bunch of YouTubers in your target language and watch their videos. This can be very entertaining, even when you aren’t a master in the language yet. You can also put on closed captioning and even slow down the video. You can also find celebrities like actors and singers to follow in your target language. You can find these people by discovering material in your target language. You can watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, conferences, comedians or even authors from good books. Basically anyone you find interesting in the language you are learning.
There are many language-learning experts to follow on social media. Polyglots who have learned multiple languages can offer constant tips and provide motivation by showing you that it can be done. The passion these people have for languages can be contagious when you see it every day in your social media feed. It’s very helpful to follow the path of people who are awesome at what they do. Comment below if you follow someone who motivates you. It can really help other people who are looking for inspiration.
This is one of the most important things you will ever do. Having friends who speak your target language works for multiple reasons. First, it gives you the opportunity to use the language in its most authentic form. You will learn with people who speak in a way that may not always be 100% grammatically correct like all the books you will read, but it’s very real. They will use slang and strange idiomatic expressions. You will learn about a culture that is different from yours and you will use the language for yourself.
When you practice with them, you’ll create your own sentences from scratch. You’ll often have to look up words, and get corrected when you get things wrong. Having online friends will also give you a lot of motivation to keep going. If you have interesting daily conversations, you will want to keep taking lessons and practice your skills to continuously improve the quality of those conversations.
Now you may be thinking: “Okay, that sounds great, but how can I make friends with people who speak my target language?“. One of the best ways that works for almost any language in the world is to join a language exchange website. There are many sites to choose from. A quick Google search for “Language Exchange” will help you find one that is best for you. You can find people who are trying to learn English, or any other language that you already know. You can help them and they will help you in return. When you find someone interesting, add them to a social media site that you use every day. The friendship will start to grow from there. Here at Ouino, we’ve met many people that way. We have spoken with these language exchange online friends on a regular basis for many years. This truly helps us to learn the language and maintain it in the future without even thinking about it.
If you’re interested in learning a new language, we have combined everything we know from years of language acquisition and research to create an awesome program. Give it a try for free at OUINO.com.
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