Have you heard? You may be missing out on valuable language learning time! The time you spend in the car—your commute to work, that solitary road trip, your drive to the grocery store—can be used to better your language skills! Start using your time wisely with these tips on how to learn a language while you drive.
Learning a language is multidimensional. You need to be a well-rounded learner in order to function within the language, meaning you have to practice with your reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. The more you listen to a language, the more familiar your ear will become with it. You already listen to music and radio shows in the car all the time, so why not switch to material that will help you improve your listening skills and help you better understand and speak a second language?
There are a ton of possibilities to learning your language in the car, and it all depends on your language level and personal learning style.
Listen to podcasts in your language of study. Which podcasts you choose will depend largely on what level of speaking you are at. Some podcast are designed specifically for beginners, but if you’re more advanced, you could begin listening to those aimed for native speakers. This blog post gives some great advice on how to access them.
Radio shows in your language of choice will help your ear get attuned to the complications of listening to native speakers and will help you get accustomed to different accents, inflections, and speeds, all of which you will experience in real world situations. You can find radio shows from all over the world online (TuneIn has a huge selection in many different languages)—so download some of that audio and find something that interests you! You will be much more willing to focus on listening if you’re interested in the topic.
Audiobooks are a great way for you to get accustomed to listening to your language of study. Audiobooks are generally spoken more slowly, and are easier to follow than radio shows. If you are a beginner, choose a story that you are familiar with, as this will make it easier for you to follow along. Once you are more comfortable with your language skills, move on to unfamiliar stories.
Music sung by native speakers is a fun way to pick up on a new language. The key is to listen beyond the beats and try to understand the lyrics. Translate the lyrics at home so that you know what’s being sung and try to follow along. Then jam out and sing along to your favorite foreign songs in the car.
Photo Credit: Timo Newton-Syms