Unleashing the Fun and Benefits of Learning Languages with Friends!
Why Learn a Language with Friends?
Learning a language with friends can be a highly beneficial and motivating experience. When faced with challenges and difficulties, it’s easy to feel tempted to quit. However, having friends learning the same language as you can help keep you motivated and accountable. The presence of friends who share your language learning journey ensures that you’ll want to continue and avoid letting them down.
Moreover, studying a language with friends allows you to engage in discussions about complex linguistic rules. Language learning often involves encountering confusing grammar or syntax rules, and having language learning friends provides an opportunity to compare interpretations and seek clarification. If you’re learning online with a native conversation partner, they can also provide practical examples and explanations for these rules.
Another advantage of learning with language friends is the opportunity for consistent practice. Whether you interact in person, over the phone, or online, having language learning friends serves as a valuable practice partner. You can communicate solely in your target language or switch between your target language and your native one, providing ample opportunities for practice.
How to Learn a Language with Friends
1.Find language learning friends online:
If you don’t have real-life friends who are learning the same target language as you, the internet offers numerous resources to connect with language learning communities. Language exchange sites like Conversation Exchange allow you to partner with native speakers who are also interested in learning your native language. Additionally, there are smartphone apps designed to help you find language learning partners. By finding people who share your interests, you can enjoy the benefits of learning a language with friends.
2.Utilize social media:
Social media platforms are invaluable tools for language learners as they facilitate the development of all main language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. You can collaborate with your language learning friends to post updates, message each other, or even exchange video messages in your target language. Connecting with a language exchange partner on social media can expand your network of people who speak your target language. For a more immersive experience, consider changing your social media account settings to your target language or create a new account dedicated solely to your language learning journey.
Playing games can be a fun and effective way to enhance your language skills. You can engage in language games with your friends in person or find online games to play with your language exchange partner. Many online gaming websites offer chat rooms where you can practice written conversation while playing. Even if you’re not particularly interested in the latest video games, there are numerous simple and well-known games available online that can still contribute to your language practice. Platforms like PlayDrift offer multiplayer dominoes and backgammon with chat rooms. Games often facilitate natural conversation, leading to discussions on various topics that you might not have considered solely through language practice.
4.Engage in conversations in your target language:
While it may seem obvious, conversing in your target language is one of the most effective ways to improve your language skills. Engaging in conversations provides valuable practice in speaking, listening, and even reading and writing. Regularly communicate with your language learning friends in your target language, and encourage each other to actively use the language in your interactions.In public, this can be particularly fun. You can use your target language to talk with your friends without other people knowing what you’re saying. Be careful, though, because you never know who else might speak your target language. With friends online, you can communicate through instant messages, connect with video chats or interact through voice messaging. Texting is another underused way of interacting in a foreign language. Once you’ve installed the right keyboard on your iPhone or Android phone, it should be much easier.
5. Watch movies/TV in your target language together:
Learning languages through watching movies and TV with friends gives you all the benefits of watching authentic media plus several handy topics for conversation practice. Who were your favorite characters? Which lines were the best? How did you feel about the movie?
Watching with subtitles offers an even more fruitful experience. Many streaming platforms include subtitles, but bilingual subtitles are ideal for maximizing your learning.
Of course, context is vital for understanding native media, and it won’t always come across just from the subtitle text. Before you tackle longer-length films and episodes, it may be worthwhile to practice with a series of shorter (but still comprehensive) vocabulary lessons.
The language learning platform Linguapaths is one such resource that teaches with bite-sized authentic videos. Each clip comes with dual-language interactive subtitles that explain how to use vocabulary terms in context, including slang and colloquialisms. You can apply what you learn from the program to your next communal watching session.
If your language friend happens to be a native speaker, they can also clarify any subtleties you may have missed or help you understand the cultural nuances.
6. Start a book club in your target language:
If there’s one thing Oprah has taught us, it’s the value of book clubs.
You can read a book in your target language to get valuable reading practice, then discuss it with your language-learning friends for engaging conversation practice.
Try starting a book club with your real-life or online friends. Simply agree on a book you want to read and plan a date to discuss it. If you don’t have a group formed yet, you can try online book club platforms like Goodreads Bookclub Groups.
If your partner is a native speaker of your target language and wants to learn your language, they can try reading the book in your native language, while you read it in your target language. Then, you can discuss the book in both languages to ensure you both benefit from the experience.
7. Create challenges for each other:
Nothing will fuel your fire quite like a little competition. Just agree on a goal with and see who can complete it first.
For instance, you might challenge each other to learn 100 new vocabulary words, or see who can write a short story in their target language the fastest.
Whatever your goal, the added motivation to win will help push you and your friend toward fluency.
8. Use Zoom to connect:
Zoom is a fabulous thing. You can place online voice or video calls for free. This is a great way to connect with real-life friends when you can’t get together or to connect with online language friends.
Video calls are particularly helpful for language learners. You can use video calls to detect nuances in language, see what shape someone’s mouth makes to produce unfamiliar sounds, or watch your partner’s facial expression to understand the emotion behind a phrase. Sometimes, wildly gesticulating is the best way to get a point across in any language.
Learning a language with friends is some of the most fun you’ll ever have on the road to fluency.
Don’t be afraid to set your friendship and language goals high!