How To Learn A New Language With A Full Time Job? 10 ideas...
Having learned three languages as an adult (English, German, and Italian at different levels) in addition to my full-time job, I’ve developed and fine-tuned my methodology. With each language, it’s becoming easier.
Most people have already learned a language. Often it’s linked to unfortunate school experiences.
You regularly hear people stating, “I’m terrible at languages.”
I don’t believe that. You just haven’t found the method that works for you.
Here is my method.
Wikipedia defines them as “a French company, founded by Alphonse Chérel in 1929. It creates and publishes foreign language courses, which began with their first book Anglais Sans Peine (“English Without Toil”). Since then, the company has expanded into numerous other languages and continues to publish today.”
I’m always starting from there. It takes you from scratch to the A2/B1 level. But the real reason is, “I just love it.” It’s fun, easy, and efficient. The principle: you do one lesson per day for 90 days. That’s it.
How does it work? You listen to a text (I do in the car, usually in the evening).
You do the exercises (I do it in the morning).
Once a week, you have a review of the past week.
When you arrive at the 50th lesson, you continue with the next one (51), but you start reviewing the first one again.
This smooth process (assimilation) brings quick results in a fun way.
I do at it everyday. At the time I’m writing this article, I have a streak of 1955 days.
It’s an app created by Steve Kaufman, a polyglot that speaks more than 15 languages. All is learned around the idea of “content input,” which means seeking content you like.
The app is perfect when you start to have enough vocabulary to read content you enjoy. In the beginning, you can start with the range available and, in particular, the “LingQ Mini-Stories.”
This is the place where I keep all the vocabulary I want to review. It’s a flashcard system using the concept of “spaced repetition software.”
5. As soon as you can read
Find content that interests you. I usually look for a blog on a topic I’m interested in. I then import the content in LingQ and do my morning reading there.
Later I select a book I have already read in French or English, and I reread it in the language I’m trying to learn.
As the last step, I start reading a book I’ve never read directly in the new language. Even if I don’t understand everything. I read on the Kindle where I can quickly check a word or translate a sentence.
6. In parallel to the reading, I listen a lot.
I distinguish two parts — active and passive listening.
I do the active part at the beginning of the journey with Assimil and Pimsleur.
When I’m more comfortable, I move to the passive part. I do it in the car when I travel, iron, vacuum. Usually, I take the book I’m reading in the audible format, and I listen to it.
I write a few sentences every morning. In order not to add to my routine (see here). I just transform my journaling experience into the language I learned. I use Languagetool and Deepl to help me correct my text.
I usually buy one good grammar textbook and I don’t revise the grammar. I’m just checking the book when I observe that I’m always making the same errors to understand the explanation. It works much better for me than studying all the grammar concepts randomly.
When I have acquired the basics and can start to express myself a bit. I’m starting to use Italki 2 times, 30 minutes a week.
I’m testing a few teachers until I find the right one. I found amazing teachers for German and Italian.
As soon as I have the occasion to, I practice in real life.
It’s essential to define what your primary goal is.
My main goal is to be able to communicate orally. It’s more critical for me to convey my message even with mistakes (I do a lot) than to speak very slowly to say everything correctly.
Everyone has their own target. Based on your interest, you can adapt your learning.
9. My weak point. Impatience.
My weak point is impatience. I could practice in real life much more. But when I’m in a business setting, I do the small talk in the targeted language, and I’m too impatient to continue and switch to English.
10. The ripple effects
I increased my knowledge of “meta-learning,” which helps me to understand how I learn. I can then apply it to any other field.
I developed my self-esteem and self-confidence. Keeping promises to myself, doing the work every day, seeing progress procures me joy and fulfillment.
Whatever you do, I warmly encourage you to learn a new language. We are all here to learn and grow. Acquiring a new language creates opportunities and brings personal satisfaction.
What will your next language be?