Not all of us have the time to sit down and go through language classes. There’s work, family, social obligations… and commuting. What about using the commuting time to learn languages? Can you learn a language while driving?
Here are the 7 ways to learn a language while driving:
- Listen to Language Learning Podcasts
- Listen To Foreign News Broadcasts
- Repeat After Speaker
- Sing Along To Foreign Songs
- Use Language Learning Apps
- Practice Conversing To Yourself
- Look, Translate, Check
Keen to see which one will work for you? Read on.
Listen to Language Learning Podcasts
Most of us do listen to and follow podcast shows from time to time. They are a great way to hear discussions about topics that matter to us. However, you can listen to foreign language learning podcasts as well.
The good thing about these foreign language learning podcasts is their lower intensity. They know their listeners do not know the language very well. This means they tone down the intensity of the language.
You may hear mostly English, with your target language sprinkled in here and there. As you listen, you will pick up words, phrases, and sentences here and there.
Listen To Foreign News Broadcasts
Suppose you are a little more familiar with the target language. In that case, you can immerse yourself in actual situations on how the language is used.
One of the best ways to do so is by listening to the news in the target language.
This is because reporters usually read the news without a heavy accent. This should make it easy for you to listen. You also get to listen to how the language is used in its proper form, which makes your learning process easier.
You will pick up proper pronunciation, grammar, and sentence structure.
How you can access these news may depend on where you live, and what language you are learning.
If you live in the US and are learning Spanish, a quick retune of your radio should bring you to Spanish radio news.
You can also go online and look for the official news agency in the target language. For example, Deutsche Welle would be a good place to start if you are learning German. For French, check out France 24.
Repeat After Speaker
The first two tips are input-based learning, where you listen and pick up the language. However, it would help if you produced some output to strengthen your learning.
As you listen along, learn to also pronounce the words, sentences, or phrases. Doing this allows you to produce sounds in the target language.
This may be particularly important to build confidence. This is more so if your target language has unique pronunciations.
Plus, by doing this in your car while commuting, nobody hears you. You would not worry too much about butchering your French as you learn.
Sing Along To Foreign Songs
If listening to the news is a little too heavy, try something fun, such as listening to foreign songs. Songs are also a great way to learn a language while driving, as you receive input and produce output in the target language.
As you listen, you pick up words, phrases, and sentences. If you enjoy the song, you may sing along and make sounds in that language!
Accessing foreign songs while driving should be quite easy as well. You only need to search for artists in your target language and listen to them over Youtube or Spotify.
Learning German while singing along to bands such as Die Ärtze, Die Toten Hosen, or Rammstein can be fun. If you are learning Spanish, perhaps singing along to Mana or Alejandro Sanz may work for you?
Use Language Learning Apps
Another way to learn a language while driving would be to use language learning apps. Many popular language learning apps come with audio clips you can play while driving.
You may spend time learning new words or phrases in the audio clips. Then you pronounce it. Then you can hear the same word pronounced by a polished native speaker to confirm your own.
Most popular language learning apps do this. Some examples include Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, Busuu, and more.
Look, Translate, Check
You can do this while driving if you want to test yourself on your vocabulary level. Simply look around you while driving, and try to see if you can pronounce the name of the things you see.
For example, suppose you are learning German. Notice a cat walking? Call out ‘Katze.’ Seeing a red car? Call out ‘ein rotes Auto.’
If you cannot call the name of the things you see, ask your voice assistant, be it Siri or Google Assistant. They should be able to show and tell you the answer.
This may be handy while waiting at a traffic light or if you are stuck in traffic too!
Practice Conversing To Yourself
Finally, one of the fastest ways to test if you can use a language well is to practice conversing with yourself.
This may be useful to practice using the language in a controlled setting. Examples include greetings, asking about the weather, or ordering food from a restaurant.
This method can also be useful if your car does not have a radio or if you prefer to drive in a quiet car.
You may need to role-play, taking turns speaking as different characters. Try to change the scenario as you go along and see if you can use the right words or phrases.
For example, when practicing ordering coffee, try to see if you can order in different ways. Can you get your coffee black? Or with two cubes of sugar and half a shot of milk?
Learning a language while driving is not something very hard to do. The key is to start, develop it into a habit, and stick to it. By no time your target language would have improved massively too.
Why not start by picking a language? Star by checking out our guide on the easiest Asian language to learn for English speakers.
learn a language while driving
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