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Language Learning

My Language Learning Methods

नमस्ते! As some of you may know, I’ve recently decided to pick up Hindi again after taking a Hindi language class in uni two years ago. I have to admit that I haven’t done anything to improve (or even remember the few things I did already know) in those two years. But now that I’ve graduated, I have some more time on my hands and want to use that time productively. So, I’ve started working on Hindi on my own!

So far, I’ve been lucky enough to always learn languages in a class, be it in middle/high school or at uni. But this time’s different, I have to do this completely on my own, and I had no idea how to learn a language by myself! After some trial and error, I’ve found some methods that work for me, and I’ll be explaining those here.

Language books

This might be the most obvious one, but it’s one of the best options out there for me. A good textbook explains grammar, gives examples and exercises, and has good vocabulary lists for you to learn. Textbooks are especially great when you’ve already used them in a class and know how to work with them. I’m using the same textbook I used in my Hindi classes, and I’m working through it at a good pace.

However, there are some cons to using a textbook. First of all, it can be boring to work through. Most textbooks are very theoretical, so it can feel like you’re not getting any actual practice in. Secondly, the grammar’s only explained once, so if you don’t understand the explanation, you can’t just ask a teacher to explain it to you. You’ll have to research everything you don’t understand by yourself, which can be annoying. Lastly, textbooks can be expensive! The textbook I use for Hindi was pretty affordable, but the books I used for Japanese were not.

Series and Films

A fun way to immerse yourself in a language is by watching series or films in your target language. It can be as simple as watching it with subtitles in your native language or in your target language. This helps with your listening skills, as it helps you get used to the sounds of a language. It’s also a fun little confidence boost when you can pick out and understand some of the words.

A great piece of software to use when you watch a lot of Netflix is Language Learning with Netflix. It’s a great extension that allows you to watch Netflix with subtitles in two languages at once and allows you to compare the words. If you’re not sure what a certain word means, just hover over it and you get to see its meanings! It’s a bit complicated to set up and use, but once you’ve got it going, it’s incredible!

Example of the Language Learning with Netflix interface on a show in Hindi
Example of the Language Learning with Netflix interface on a show in Hindi

I’ve also used the extension in my work as a private tutor and summer school tutor, to teach English in a more fun way than just textbooks. It allowed them to compare the subtitles while still being able to understand what was happening. I’d fully recommend this extension to anyone!

Language Exchange Sites/Apps

If you’re tired of not being able to use the language you’re learning, a language exchange site can be a good option. There’s plenty of apps and sites where you can find a language exchange buddy. I personally use the Language Exchange subreddit and HelloTalk regularly, but there are many other options! I suggest you try out a few and see what works well for you.

Duolingo

I’m not a big fan of Duolingo when it’s used on its own, but it has its good points. Duolingo is great for on the go, you can practice even if you only have a few minutes available. It’s a great app to improve your vocabulary, and the point aspect makes it a fun little game between friends. However, using Duolingo as your only learning method is not going to get you far. Duolingo teaches you certain phrases and how to substitute words in those phrases, but there’s no grammar whatsoever. The app is great for vocabulary, but please use it in conjunction with a grammar textbook.

That’s all I have to write about language learning methods for now! I’ll probably write another article with more methods I like using in the near future, but that’s for another time. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and until next time!

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