There are endless benefits to learning a new language at any age. These 5 tips will help you do it with the whole family, nearly for free!
by April Holloway, Esq. — Posted on Jan 30, 2017
There are countless benefits to learning a new language in your spare time, from sharper memory retention to the possibility it might even help stave off Alzheimer's disease. When I learned how much better your brain works when you're actively learning a new language, I wanted to share it not only with my school-aged daughter, but also my elderly parents--especially knowing that Alzheimer's disease runs in our family.
Luckily, everybody was on board to learn Spanish, but paying for all of us would have become burdensome. I started researching free or nearly-free ways to get fluent with your family and found these 5 great resources:
1) Go to your Local Library
This is the best resource. Not only does the library have books in other languages, depending on your area, you may also be able to find books with audio CDs. If you are a true beginner, you can find books in the children’s collection. If not, many contemporary books are available in other languages in the adult sections. If you tell your local librarian that you are trying to learn a new language, they will also tell you any other resources available in that library, from free tutoring, to language practicing meet-ups.
2) Download a Foreign Language Radio App
Not that long ago, you could only listen to the radio stations in your car. Nowadays, you can listen online or download an app like Simple Radio, to listen to radio news from any country. The app includes music stations and Christian programming. Since the topics on the talk radio shows range from weather and current events to traffic, it is a great way to get familiar with speech patterns and work on pronunciation.
3) Check Out YouTube
YouTube has a wealth of free content including videos that teach vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar for fun, in every language you can think of. For example, a channel that I use is SpanishPod101. This channel provides vocabulary lessons separated by subject matter and contextual sentences. The channel also allows you to test your listening skills with skit and response videos at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels. Also, whatever your interest--soap operas, cooking, crafting--it is highly likely you can find a video on that subject matter in any language you are interested in.
4) Turn on the Exercise Videos!
Find old workout videos in your target language to help you learn the body parts and other basic dialogue. My daughter and I found some Spanish language workout videos at the local library and some at various bargain shops, like Ross and Target. Of course, if you have internet access at home, you can find them on YouTube as well. Look around your city and see if you can find an exercise class in your target language. I found a community Zumba class where the instructor spoke in Spanish. Since it was only $7 per class, this was a great exercise activity and also helped with our Spanish acquisition.
5) Make New Friends and Practice Together
Search social sites like meetup.com or ask at your local library and you can probably find a group that meets to practice your target language. They may want to meet for coffee or book discussion or other activities but the purpose will be to practice your new language together. They may be more advanced in their fluency than your family so this is a great way to get tutoring for free.