We all can agree learning a new language is quite hard, but including certain practices in your daily life while living in that country will make things easier and more enjoyable.
Sometimes getting immerse in the culture allows you to speed the learning process and get fluent. After all, if you need milk and the people at the store speaks Italian you will be forced to at least remember the basics in order to complete the purchase.
Javier Gutierrez (who we can see in the image below next to his wife) is a bilingual digital marketer who currently resides in the USA. Through the experience of teaching his wife Spanish developed different strategies to improve the learning curve, below we include five:
Strategy 1: Speak to Your Significant Other in Their Target Language At Home
Whatever language you are trying to teach your significant other, do it at home.
This can become a fun game as well. At home, you are comfortable. And away from other people, who can oftentimes make a new learner feel shy.
It is also easy for your partner to quickly relate to actions and items they are already familiar with even if it’s in a new language.
You can refer to kitchen items when you are cooking together, or initiate your daily walks by speaking in Spanish. These are all things you already do with them, so learning the phrases in another language will make the language more and more familiar.
Strategy 2: Teach Them a Useful Phrase Once a Day
Every day, make it a point to teach your significant other a useful phrase.
Learning everyday tasks is fun, but make sure you also prepare them with phrases that will come in handy when visiting a new country.
Here are a few useful phrases I taught my wife:
- Estoy esperando el taxi – “I am waiting for the taxi”
- Necesito ir al baño – “I need to use the bathroom”
- ¿Cómo se dice…? – “How do you say…?”
- ¿Que hora es? – “What time is it?”
- Me llamo _ – “My name is _”
Useful phrases are phrases that can potentially get your significant other help if they find themselves without your assistance, for any reason.
Picture them trying to get around the city without you being there to translate or help. This may not ever happen, but it’s good to prepare them to interact with the locals and feel more comfortable in case of emergencies.
Strategy 3: Practice Immersion Learning
We all recognize the benefits of learning by immersion. The more you are around a language and hear it, the quicker you’ll learn.
However, not everyone is comfortable being around large groups of people trying to learn a new language together.
My wife is an introvert, and she does not like the unfamiliar (she is a data-driven person and a planner, unlike me).
If you have similar qualities, too much immersion learning can deter you from enjoying and embracing your new language experience.
I began encouraging my wife to speak Spanish with a few members of my family. People that she knows, is familiar with, and feels comfortable around.
For her, three people speaking Spanish to each other was the limit of her comfort level. Anything more than three people (this number may vary for your significant other) can make your partner feel excluded and uncomfortable.
Extra tip: Do not start immersion learning with strangers.
This is especially true if your partner is an introvert. Starting your language learning journey with strangers is not for everyone. Get your partner comfortable with small groups of family first, then consider larger groups.
Strategy 4: Download Language Apps
Apps are a good way to make the most use of your downtime to learn a new language, and it can be fun to try out different apps with your partner.
Apps like Duolingo are a fun way to pass time while also learning a new language. The app makes language learning fun and organized.
If your partner is ready and comfortable enough, using a language exchange app can mirror immersion learning with people from all around the world, in a more personal way.
This is especially helpful if your significant other is also trying to learn how to read and write in another language by writing messages to a pen pal.
Strategy 5: Watch Foreign Language TV and Listen to Music Together
It’s easy to help your partner learn by watching TV, reading, or listening to music in another language. But it is best to pick one medium you most enjoy and use it to learn.
My wife, for example, didn’t really want to sit through a whole series of Spanish shows to try to learn the language. Watching a TV show can be hard to understand for beginners due to the lack of background knowledge and speed.
For my wife, learning Spanish through music was easier and more enjoyable.
It’s no surprise. Music has repetition and rhythm, which makes it easier for individuals to learn. We all remember the Schoolhouse Rock songs in history class right?
You can implement the same tactics when teaching your significant other a new language. In less time than you know, they will be singing along. This is also a great opportunity to explain the meaning of the songs and whistle your way into mastering a new language.