Liven things up Nothing’s better to keep up your motivation than some real-life activities that use the language you are learning and show off its culture at the same time. Cooking classes are a good option for the food enthusiast as frying up gastronomic delicacies means you’ll learn your fruit and vegetable words and take home some target language recipes to boot (the best kind of homework).
Get starry eyed Whether you’re into astrology or not, once you do your research you’ll find that most cultures have their own take on predicting the future and finding magic in the signs and symbols of the world. Sign up for a daily horoscope for the chance to learn a special set of terms that can come in handy next time you offer up your palm for a reading. If you don’t like looking at the sky try checking out the local stars and celebrity gossip scene instead to figure out who makes your target language’s culture turn ‘round.
Follow the leaders So much of what we learn when we study a new language revolves around the country or countries where it is spoken. References to politics and government are hard to get around when you meet native speakers and you don’t want to find yourself unarmed next time cocktail party conversation strikes. So, find a few commentators or leaders to follow on Twitter. It is a great, low-key way to keep the political section of the paper at bay and give your statesmenship lingo a work-out.
Laugh it up Comic books, illustrated stories and cartoons are a fun way to keep learning light and reduce the target language text load for weary eyes. Plus, the images help you plant lasting seeds of memory as researchers say humor opens up cognitive doors and lets in the learning light.
Sing yourself silly Songs are a perfect way to internalize the sounds and rhythms of the language you are learning and memorizing the lyrics goes a long way in impressing hosts when you lift a glass to cheers at your next karaoke gig.
Round up some good reads There’s certainly more to language than text book reading so figure out what you like to read, whether it’s the sports section, Sunday travel magazine or daily tips and tricks for going green, and use a language reading suggestion app like Lingua.ly to find real and engaging online content that’s sort-able by interest category and pitched at your unique learning level.
Add some bling to your words Vocabulary has come a long way since the black and white textbook lists of yesteryear. These days digital flashcards exist in all shapes and sizes and let you add images, audio and even example sentences to help you make dynamic memories. With so many stimulating resources to get your cognitive juices flowing, learners have no excuse for long lists filled with parts of speech and flat definitions.