Ten Quick Language Learning Activities for Busy People

Nowadays we have plenty of resources to learn languages, from CDs to applications, websites, videos and so forth. Still having these resources is not what it counts but our desire, motivation to learn the language and mostly, time.
Many people spend time reading blogs and articles about learning languages but essentially what one needs is PRACTICE and we all already know practice makes perfect, therefore it is very important to practice everyday, if you have a very busy schedule, at least 10 minutes would do but ideally if learning a language is important for you, commitment and dedication are key factors to reach this goal. In a nutshell the more serious you are about learning your target language the more time and commitment you put into it.
But sometimes our schedule is tight or we have to take care of business and we have, well, ten minutes or less ... here we have some short activities for those busy days.

1. Duolingo

This application is perfect for people with busy schedules, you can practice everyday, anytime, a lesson takes 2 minutes, helps you with your pronuntiation and in building new vocabulary.

2. Memrise

This application is not as popular as Duolingo, it focuses mostly on vocabulary and pronuntiation, the lessons are short and easy. Memrise also has courses on many other subjects like geography, history, economics, cloud recognition and trivia among many others.

3. Radio

Listening radio stations around the world is an easy thing to do but first you have to search for news radio stations and choose one you like, once you find it you can save it for later and just listen. Now you can say you don't understand much but as you learn more vocabulary and keep a daily contact with your language you will be surprised when you start to pick up words and sentences here and there, and eventually get the gist of what is being talked about. Another very popular option is listening podcasts.

4. YouTube videos

You probably already found a channel you like but I recommend " easy language " this is people in the street being asked : where are you going? what is your profession? what do you like about your city? this is normal people using everyday language. I highly recommend this channel.

5. Music

Besides helping you to get acquainted with culture, music improves your understanding of language, your pronuntiation and introduces you to common expressions.

6. Proverbs

Learn them by heart and surprise everybody.

"the early bird catches the worm"
- a quien madruga Dios le ayuda
- Morgenstunde hat Gold in Munde
- Il mattino ha l'oro in bucca
- à qui se lève matin, Dieu aide et prête la main.

"better late than never"
- mas vale tarde que nunca
- besser spät als nie
- meglio tarde che mai
- mieux vaut tard que jamais

"a man is known by the company he keeps"
- dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres
- sage mir, mit wem du umgehst, so sage ich dir wer du bist
- dimmi con chi vai e ti dirò chi sei
- dis moi qui tu hantes et ja dirai qui tu es

"never look a gift horse in the mouth"
- a caballo regalado no se le mira el diente
- einen geschenkten Gaul sieht man nicht ins Maul
- a cavallo donato non si guarda la bocca
- a cheval donné on ne regarde pas la bride
- a cavalo dado, não se olha o dente

and this one for all language students:

"patience overcomes all things"
- con paciencia todo se logra
- mit Geduld und Fleiß kommt man weit
- con la pazienza si ottiene tutto
- avec du temps et de la patience on vient à bout de tout
- com paciência e perseverança tudo se alcança

7. Basic Verbs Conjugation

It is good to learn by heart the most used verbs and their conjugation, review them in your head, start with the present tense then later on expand your knowledge to present perfect, future and conditional. Some verbs you can start working on are: to be, to want, to have, to speak, to talk, to go, to know, to be able, to think, to forget and to understand.

8. Call your teacher

If you have private classes ask your teacher if it would be ok to chat once in a while in your target language. I used to call my students twice a week in order to review vocabulary and sentence structure, nothing complicated, just chat, your teacher would be able to lead the conversation based on your knowledge of the language.

9. Talk to your pet or to yourself

I talk italian with my cat, sometimes I make up songs for him. Depending on your level you can create your own internal dialogues in your target language.

10. Closed Caption

If you can watch T.V. and read closed captions I highly recommend this exercise, it works better if you read them out aloud to work on your pronuntiation. You will also learn a lot of expressions that usually are not taught in classrooms.
I hope these tips help you in keeping contact with your target language on busy days. Let me know in the comment section about your own quick activities. Carpe Diem.

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RandWalker profile picture RandWalkerNovember 2017
I listened to a few "Easy Language" in French on YouTube. I think I've finally found something I can listen to and learn to comprehend.
vincent profile picture vincentSeptember 2017

great yes