If you truly want to know and absorb a language you need to be practicing it all the time. Any experienced language learner will know this very well. It’s one thing to get the basics of a language under control, but it’s an entirely different to internalize all of that knowledge in a way that you can actually go out and speak with a native. To get to that level takes years.
Once you get past the basic familiarity, you’ll need to switch up the methodology that you use to continue improving your learning. The three best ways that I’ve found to do this are reading, listening to conversations, and participating in conversations. Let’s go over how to implement these in our daily lives in a way that works with your busy schedule.
Where To Read
Reading in your target language is a great way to boost your vocabulary. I find that the best place for me to read is in my living room once I’m winding down for the day. It doesn’t always have to be a book that you’re reading either, it can also be magazines, internet articles, or even some quick practice with Duolingo in a bind.
I find that reading in my living room is the best place because I can sit up, still be active, and get in the zone. I’ll usually prepare a nice warm cup of tea and sit down by my new electric fireplace (which I picked out using this ultimate guide from BEFR), and just dive into whatever I’m reading until I get tired enough to fall asleep. Sometimes I’ll only squeeze in ten minutes or so, but sometimes I can go on for hours.
Where To Listen to Conversations
My tried and true place for integrating listening to conversations in my daily life is in the kitchen. I cook dinner almost every single day, without exception. If you don’t do so yourself, then maybe you can find a similar alternative. Another suggestion could be at the gym, for example, if you have an exercising habit.
While I’m cooking in the kitchen I usually will put on a television show in my target language. There are tons of good shows to pick from on YouTube, and that’s my go-to. Another alternative is to listen to something on audio, such as an audio book or a podcast.
Where to Participate in Conversations
This method of practice can be the toughest to implement. I’ve managed to nail something down that works well for me, but it did take a bit of work to systemize I’ll admit. What I’ve managed to do is work with a coach who I can speak with over WhatsApp, and we have daily scheduled lessons that I participate in while I’m commuting in my car.
My ride to work takes about 30 minutes each way, so what better to do than to utilize that idle time for something useful. You could probably save yourself some money by having a friend to speak with in your target language, but I’ve found that it’s hard to have someone who is consistently available to chat with unless it is their job.
These tactics are what are working best for me these days, but obviously there are so many out there that will work just as well. Maybe these examples will inspire you to take your language learning to the next level. It’s a long process, but we’ll get there eventually!