How to Learn a Language at Home
Because of COVID-19 and lockdown we have less things to do and basically nowhere to go. However there are many activities that you can still take part in, even at home. I decided to take part in the Gaisce Awards, which is the President’s Award. There are four main sections for the Gaisce Awards including: community involvement, personal skill, physical recreation and adventure journey. Personal skill is the area that interests me as you can choose a skill that you want to improve or develop a new skill. I decided to learn Brazilian Portuguese for 26 weeks as I have an interest in foreign languages.
Image: Brazil flag, en.wikipedia.org
Image: Bronze Gaisce Award, gaisce.ie
Before beginning to learn the language, I researched different ways and methods for language learning. I will name and explain many different sources I use for learning Portuguese and where you can access them.
Image: Learn Portuguese, radioline.co
This is a language learning website and app. It has a wide variety of 34 different languages including Spanish, Arabic, Japanese ect. The language is taught through different topics using audios, videos and vocabulary. The app also allows you to download short podcast episodes to listen to as well. It is free to use however you can pay money to get access to more resources.
Image: Duolingo logo
Duolingo is a well known language learning app. You can start a new language or continue to learn a language at an intermediate level. You can set daily targets depending on how long you want to spend on a language. Personally I have used this app for Irish, French and Portuguese. While Duolingo is an acceptable additional tool, I won’t recommend that you only learn a language using it as important topics such as grammar rules aren’t properly explained.
Image: Spotify logo
A more relaxed method to include when learning a language is music. Listen to music in your target language. This will not only get you used to listening to the language but will also help you learn about the culture of the language. This is a way of immersing yourself in the culture of the language without visiting the country.
Image: HelloTalk logo
This is another language learning app. The function of HelloTalk is to allow people from all over the world to practice learning languages with each other. Free of charge, you can talk to native speakers of the language you want to learn and teach them your own native language in return. You can have people make corrections to either your sentences or pronunciation. You can also record yourself using your virtual notepad.
Netflix and YouTube
Image: Language Learning with Netflix, chrome.google.com
Netflix and YouTube are great resources for learning a language. Many movies, tv series and videos are available in different languages. You can choose to have subtitles in your native language or your target language. In my opinion, I find it best to have both subtitles. This can be done by downloading free google extensions called ‘Language Learning with Netflix’ and ‘Language Learning with YouTube’. When watching you can just click on any word you don’t know and it will show you the word in your native language. Here are pictures of me using these google extensions:
Image: Using ‘Language Learning with Netflix, Netflix.com
Image: Using ‘Language Learning with YouTube’, YouTube.com
Image: Anki logo
Anki is a spaced repetition flashcard system. It can be used on a laptop or computer. This is mainly used when watching Netflix or YouTube in your target language. When you are watching something, you can simply create flashcards and save them to a deck. When studying your cards you will be asked how well you know a word. That flashcard will reappear a particular amount of days later depending on how familiar you are with the word.
Image: Using ‘Anki’, My Portuguese flashcards
Hopefully these techniques will help you in some way to improve a language you are learning or have motivated you to learn a new one.
Image: Brazil, veem.com