How to get better at foreign languages without even noticing

Learning new languages is (of course) one of my favourite hobbies, but sadly the number of teenagers studying them in England in rapidly decreasing. Really awkward when French/Spanish/Polish/German/Italian etc teenagers come to London and speak better English than we could ever speak any foreign language. With that in mind, it’s always nice to learn things subconsciously. Here are some ways to improve your foreign languages WITHOUT EVEN NOTICING. Clever, right?

1. Get a pen – or Facebook – pal

Okay, so no one writes letters anymore. So find a friend-of-a-friend who speaks a language you’re learning and add them on Facebook/ BBM/ Whatsapp/ Skype. If they’re your own age and share some similar interests, you’re not going to mind speaking to them once in a while. The way they misuse English can sometimes be really entertaining (they’ll be laughing at your Spanish/French/Italian/German etc too of course but don’t think about that…).

2.  Read magazines in a foreign language

Reading magazines is soo much more fun than reading novels, and it’s easier (obviously) as the articles are in small chunks. It’s also useful for picking up some more colloquial words that you wouldn’t get in a textbook – particularly if it’s a magazine specially for teenagers. You can also decide which articles you read based on what interests you, and you can pick the magazine up every now and again when you have a free moment…

3. Watch foreign language movies (with subtitles)

Everyone likes watching movies (especially if they involve topless Spanish boys – watch Ladrones for Juan Jose Ballesta) and even with subtitles, you still absorb some words. It really helps for your spoken language, and you look really smart (and not nerdy AT ALL) if you casually drop into conversations that you’ve seen loads of foreign-language movies.



  1. samantha

    This is awesome! Ha, I just wrote a post about my fear of learning a new language. Thanks for the tip on subtitles, i’m doing that immediately 🙂 Cheers!

  2. Sonya

    Those are some great ideas!

    The other day I was talking to my brother and said something about the Czech language being really difficult for me to understand (I was listening to a song a few days before that) though I thought it was German and realized it wasn’t, I concluded I prefer German to Czech. James was like, “You know enough German to know the difference?” I said “Yes of course!” I have no reason to know either.

    is the video I was listening to – watching. I seriously don’t understand a word except Monster High.

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