How long does it take to learn a language

How Long Does it Take to Learn a Language? Find Out Here.

How long does it take to learn a language

These days, almost everyone has an excellent reason to learn a language. International business, cross-cultural friendships, and multi-country travel have made language proficiency a common goal.

Many people on the path to fluency find themselves asking, “How long does it take to learn a language?” In this blog post, we’ll share some interesting statistics, but also a few reasons why there might not be a clear-cut answer.

How Long Does it Take to Learn a Language?

What the Experts Say

First, let’s take a look at the statistics. The U.S. Foreign Service Institute conducted a study to determine the answer. The result: the key factor in determining how long it will take you to learn is how different your target language is from your native language.

For languages like French, Spanish, and Italian, which are among the most similar to English, it will take between 575-600 hours to achieve a level of “General professional proficiency.” On the other end of the spectrum, languages like Arabic and Japanese will take around 2,200 hours.

While these numbers might seem intimidating, they are actually completely within reach with the right tools, plan, and some determination!

Factors that Affect Language Learning

While the statistics above are helpful references, the fact is that the speed of your language acquisition is affected by a number of factors. Language learning is highly personal based on your previous knowledge, your learning style, your preferences (group classes, individual lessons, online, or in-person), and more.

Here are some of the main factors that will affect how long it takes you to learn a language.

Your Learning Style

Some students learn quicker than others, either because they’re on a timeline or, they might just be better at striking up conversations with native speakers. Other students prefer to study at a slower pace, attending weekly classes and completing homework in between. And of course, every student’s level of motivation and determination is different.

Your Experience With Languages

Are you already bilingual? If so, you’re probably already familiar with how to study a new language, and it will come more naturally to you. Bonus points if you’re learning a language that’s in the same “family” or category of languages.

For example, if you already know Spanish, then French and Italian will be easier for you. If you already know Hebrew, then Arabic will be much more familiar.

Method of Learning

For as many reasons as there are to learn a language, there are easily as many ways to learn a language. Language learning methods are exponentially growing, and that’s a good thing!

The method you choose can greatly affect your pace of learning. If you choose an in-person, intensive course, you’ll make rapid progress. On the other hand, less frequent group classes or simply using a language learning app will likely take longer to yield the same result.

SEE ALSO: How to Make Learning a Language Easier and Faster

Amount of Time Spent

Language learning takes practice. The more time you’re able to dedicate to it, the quicker you’ll learn. Keep in mind that language learning doesn’t only occur in the classroom. You’ll also need time for practice exercises or homework, listening to audio recordings or music, watching videos, and interacting with speakers of the language through immersion or travel.

The Language You’re Learning

As noted above, the language you’re learning can be the difference between 24 weeks and 88 weeks of language instruction to reach the same level of proficiency. While it’s not the only thing you should take into consideration, it’s an important fact to consider when choosing a language to learn.

Now, Here’s the Fastest Way to Learn a Language…

Now that you know approximately how long it will take you to learn a language, here are a few tips to further minimize the time you’ll spend on the path to fluency. We’ll also share some things to avoid that will actually prolong your language learning.

Tips & Tricks to Learn Faster

  • Be Consistent – Create a regular schedule for study time, and stick to it! Languages require constant reinforcement, so to progress faster, don’t let your study time slide.
  • Find the Right Teacher – Choosing a teacher who understands your unique learning style makes a big difference.
  • Stay Motivated – Remind yourself why you’re learning the language often, and keep it in your mind as you work toward your goal.
  • Have Some Variety – Instead of just sticking to your textbook, embrace the variety of opportunities there are to practice your language – including movies, music, and apps!
  • Plan Ahead – With a clear plan right from the get-go, you’ll be able to avoid distraction or forgetfulness in your study sessions.

What NOT To Do

  • On and Off Language Learning – Many language learners lose momentum in their learning because they start and stop too often. Don’t let that be you! Commit to your language study and you won’t regret it.
  • Neglecting Homework or Practice – Lessons or classes will greatly aid your learning, but don’t forget to do your homework! Regular practice outside of class is essential to make quicker progress.
  • Getting Stuck in Beginner’s Land – Hesitation is a common feeling among beginners, but in order to advance, you can’t be afraid to strike up conversations with native speakers, speak up in class, or look for other opportunities to engage in your target language.

Language learning is a unique journey for everyone, but by following these suggestions, you should be able to learn faster. The best way to get started today is with the guidance of an experienced language teacher. Learning on your own can yield some progress, but without someone to listen to and correct you, you’ll be making errors you can’t identify on your own.

A competent, qualified teacher can guide you in the right direction and introduce concepts, vocabulary, and grammar at just the right time for you. Check out TakeLessons Live for a month’s worth of free online classes. Get started today and you’ll be speaking your target language before you know it!

Joan BPost Author: Joan B.
Joan B. lives in Carmichael, CA and has been teaching high school Spanish for more than 18 years. A lover of language, she’s studied French, Arabic, and Italian and spent time living in Spain. Learn more about Joan here!
how to make your resume stand out

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out From the Crowd

how to make your resume stand out

Whether you’re about to graduate or are on the lookout for a new employer, it’s important that you know how to make your resume stand out. Competition in the job market is fierce, but here are a few tips and tricks you can implement to give yourself an advantage over your peers.

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Use a Unique Resume Template

The number one way to make your resume stand out from all the rest is to make it look different than all the rest. If you’re still using the standard format your high school teacher taught you, your resume is most likely long overdue for an upgrade.

Rather than simply listing your education and experience in a plain and boring document, try using a unique and modern resume template like one of these from Design Shack. Consider adding a professional photo of yourself to the top to make it more personal.  

Emphasize Your Accomplishments

Another thing that is sure to impress a hiring manager is emphasizing your accomplishments. Capture your potential employer’s attention by highlighting what you’re most proud of on your resume.

Have you been a part of any specific, successful projects? What were the results of that project? Did you create something many people were impacted by? Did you lead a large team in doing so? Answering these kinds of questions will reveal what’s special about your unique work history.  

Keep it to One Page 

how to make your resume stand out with a unique template

Crisp and clean resumes are much more convenient for the busy, examining interviewer. That’s why keeping your resume to one page is a good idea. Hone down all of your incredible attributes to the ones that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Instead of listing out every minor detail of the previous positions you’ve held, focus on the tasks and responsibilities that show you’re a good fit for the available role. With the little that you do write, your goal should be to express why you deserve to get invited in for an interview.

SEE ALSO: Resume Writing Tips

Include a Link to an Online Portfolio

Just because you’re limited on space in the actual resume doesn’t mean you can’t include a link to an online portfolio. A personal website is an excellent place to further discuss and display your accomplishments.

A few helpful hints – your online portfolio should not simply rehash everything you already listed on your resume. Instead, use it as an opportunity to show off samples of your work (if applicable) and share some additional information about yourself.

List a Second Language

Speaking a second language is a requirement for a growing number of jobs, and when it’s not an absolute must-have, it’s still very often a preferred trait. If you’re fluent in multiple languages, you should absolutely list them on your resume.

Still on your way to becoming bilingual, but not quite there yet? Don’t neglect this highly beneficial skill. You can easily take online language lessons to become a more proficient speaker and/or writer. A small investment in private lessons to improve your skills will be well worth the reward!

RELATED POST: How To Decide Which Foreign Language You Should Learn

Now you know how to make your resume stand out. By following these five simple guidelines, you’ll be one step closer to nailing an interview for your dream job. Good luck, and happy job hunting!

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making time for hobbies

Here’s the Secret to Finding “Hidden” Time for Your Hobbies

making time for hobbies

“If you had an extra hour in your day, how would you spend your time?”

Your answer to that question can tell you a lot about yourself, and it’s fun to think about.

But the reality is: 24 hours is all you get. (Sorry!)

You can’t quit your job. You can’t ignore family commitments and responsibilities. If you want to learn a new skill, improve your current talents, or work toward a big learning goal, it’s up to you to make that happen. So how do you balance that with a busy schedule?

It’s simple: learn to budget your time the same way you budget your money.

Here are the steps you can take if you feel like you’re too busy to learn or take up a new hobby, proven to work by some of our top students.

1. Decide you WANT to learn.

find time to learn

The first step to financial success is deciding to have a budget. And that budget is often dictated by your short- and long-term goals. Maybe you want to pay off your student loans or mortgage within five years. Or maybe you just want that new jacket you saw at Nordstrom.

Now let’s translate that into learning: what are your goals there? Do you want to be able to sing confidently in front of a group? Play guitar at a friend’s wedding? Speak Spanish fluently on an upcoming vacation? Write these down, and put them somewhere you can see them every day.

Excuses will always come up. And heck, life will sometimes get in the way. But if you’re excited about improving your skills, that’s the first step.

2. Be realistic.

finding time in your schedule for music lessons

You wouldn’t set a $300 budget for going out to eat if you only had $50 discretionary cash per week. Similarly, be realistic about the time you can commit to practicing and taking lessons.

If you’re juggling a busy schedule, a 30-minute lesson once per week may be all you can find time for. Or maybe you can’t even commit to that — fortunately, you can find teachers who are more flexible week-to-week, and rescheduling is always an option if something comes up.

Once you have your lesson time penciled in, then it’s time to schedule your practice time. But be realistic about that, too! You may not be able to practice for hours every day, and that’s OK. Even a short practice session will help you stay on track, if you make it efficient.

3. Find the right hacks.

skype with language exchange partner

If you’re a super-budgeter, you probably know all the tricks. You hold out for great deals, look for coupons and discount codes, and so on.

Same goes for budgeting your time. If you break down your schedule, you may find you have extra time in your day for your hobbies. And yes, that may mean skipping the Netflix marathons, or cutting back on the time you spend browsing social media.

You were probably expecting that advice, right? But look: there are even more hacks you can try. Here are some ways TakeLessons students have made time for their hobbies:

  • Take online lessons. Ordering takeout for dinner is a great time saver. What if you could get music or language lessons delivered to the comfort of your home, too? Turn on your computer, pull up the TakeLessons Classroom, and you can meet with your teacher instantly — no travel time required.
  • Take advantage of your workspace. If your company allows it, consider taking your online lessons during your lunch break. If you prefer in-person lessons, find a teacher close by your work, so it’s not a hassle to get to. You can also use your time going to and from work. As a language learner, for example, you can practice listening to your target language during your commute!
  • Find a flexible teacher. If you need to reschedule a lesson every now and then, don’t stress. While a designated lesson time each week will help you stay accountable, we understand that things come up! If you have unique scheduling needs, feel free to use our Ask a Question feature before booking your lessons, to find a teacher who can accommodate.
  • Use your guilty pleasures to your advantage. Learning a new skill doesn’t have to be all work, no play! Musicians: jamming with community groups or going to karaoke is a fun way to add music to your day. Language students, consider changing the language settings when you’re watching TV, or pick a foreign movie with subtitles.

4. Adjust as needed.

practice guitar

Budgets ebb and flow — unplanned bills show up, salaries go up and down, and can’t-miss opportunities arise. The best financial advice is to stay flexible and adjust your budget often.

Similarly, sometimes the time you’ve budgeted doesn’t go as planned. We get it: life gets busy. So don’t beat yourself up if you need to reschedule a lesson or if you miss a practice session. Stay positive, and fit in what you can!

Planning ahead can help, as well. Work with your teacher to create a 15-minute practice routine, if you’re short on time one week. Or, make a list of ways to fit practice into your everyday life.

Even the most successful people have “off” days. Get back on track when you can, review your goals again, and envision where you’d like your skills to be in one year.

5. Pay yourself first.

pay yourself first

One of the best money tips out there is to pay yourself first.

What does that mean, exactly? In terms of finances, it means setting aside funds for your future self before anything else. (Think: emergency funds, retirement accounts, and so on.)

So, apply the same strategy to how you’re spending your free time. Want to stay sharp? Learning a musical instrument is linked to improved memory, concentration, and IQ. Want to get ahead in your career? In today’s job market, learning a second language will make you a more valuable employee, and may even lead to a higher salary.

Or maybe it’s a more personal goal. Many of the adult students we talk to mention they took music lessons as a kid, and wanted to bring that joy back into their lives.

So the question is… do you want to invest in yourself? When you think of it that way, making time for your hobbies seems like a no-brainer.

Readers, how do you make time for yourself? Have you ever felt like you were too busy to learn something new? Leave a comment below and share your experience! 

Photo by Will Foster

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How to Say “I Love You” Around the World

How to Say I Love You Around the World

Love is a universal emotion shared between people all over the world. Nothing is sweeter than hearing the words “I love you” from someone special.

While the feeling of love is universal, every culture and language have a unique way of saying these words.

How many ways are there to say “I love you?” We’re not sure of the exact number, but here’s how to say it in eight different languages…

Saying I love you is one thing, but showing your love is another. Let’s look at how to say “I love you” in different languages and some of the cultural rituals, traditions, and holidays to celebrate and express the most beautiful emotion…love!

How to Say I Love You in Spanish

spanish

In the United States, we say “I love you” to our parents, family, and friends. Many languages have variations of the phrase for different situations. For example, in Spanish how to say I love you depends on who you’re addressing.

Spanish Love Phrases

Te quiero – (I love you or I care for you). This is mainly used among friends and family to express affection in non-romantic relationships.

Te amo – (I love you). This is a more serious way to express your love. Use this phrase to express your love for a romantic interest or spouse.

More: 20 Easy Spanish Phrases for Striking up a Conversation

Spanish Love Traditions

Culturally, love can be expressed through various rituals and customs. A newer tradition has taken hold in the Spanish city of Seville.

Here, lovers will say “te amo and then symbolize their love by fastening a padlock to the railing of the Isabel II Bridge, and then throwing the keys into the Guadalquivir river below.

Saint Jordi’s Day

Saint Jordi’s Day on April 23rd, the anniversary of the patron’s saint’s death, is the closest thing to Valentine’s Day in Spain. According to the legend of Saint George, Saint Jordi killed a dragon to save a princess, then plucked a red rose which sprouted from a rose bush on the spot where the dragon’s blood spilled.

It’s tradition on Saint Jordi’s day for men to give their love a red rose, while the women give their men a book.

More: Here’s How Three Holidays Can Help You Learn Spanish


How to Say I Love You in French

how to say i love you

It’s been said that French is the language of love. Here are some ways to express your affection in French.

French Love Phrases

Je t’aime – (I love you). This is the strongest way to express your love to someone.

Je t’adore – (I adore you).

Je te desire – (I want you).

Coup de foudre – Although this translates literally to “a flash of lightning,” this is the French phrase for “love at first sight.”

The French love to express their feelings and often add terms of endearment, much like we might say “I love you, sweetheart”. For example in French, Je t’adore ma cherie”, means “I adore you, my darling.”

Just remember, the possessive adjective has to agree with the gender of the term of endearment.

French Love Traditions

Just like couples in Seville, the French have a padlock tradition of their own. Lovers flock to the Pont de l’Archevêché, leave a lock to symbolize their love, and throw the key into the Seine river below. This ritual signifies that the couples’ love will last forever.

La Saint-Valentin (Valentine’s Day)

While the true origins are unknown, many people believe Valentine’s Day started in France. Every year on the weekend that falls closest to Valentine’s Day, couples travel to the village of St-Valentin. Some guests have a romantic weekend getaway while others renew their wedding vows.

More: Flirting in French: 25 Head-Turning Phrases You Need to Know


How to Say I Love You in German

german

Much like Spanish, the German language has different levels of “I love you”, depending on the depth of feeling and the relationship with the person being addressed.

German Love Phrases

Ich habe dich gerne – (I have love for you / I care for you). A less serious declaration of adoration.

Ich liebe dich  – (I love you). A more serious pronouncement of romantic love.

Du bist die Liebe meines Lebens – (You are the love of my life). This is the strongest declaration of love.

The Germans are extremely efficient when it comes to love! Men are expected to ask the women for a date and to pay. When a man arrives to pick up his date, he must bring flowers, and if she lives with her mother, he must bring her flowers, too.

Finally, lateness is unforgivable. If you’re running late for a date, just go home!

Valentine’s Day in Germany

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Germany is a newer celebration (post World War II), and is generally considered an adult holiday. While you will find the normal gifts and keepsakes you’d find anywhere else, in Germany, many of these items also include a pig, which is considered a symbol of luck!

More: Common German Phrases and Etiquette Tips for Dining Out


How to Say I Love You in Italian

italian

Along with the French, Italians are known for their romantic expressions of love. In fact, whether it’s an operatic aria or simply whispering sweet nothings to your love, many people think the phrase “I love you” is best voiced in Italian.

Italian Love Phrases

There are over a hundred ways to say “I love you” in Italian!  Italians have specific ways of saying the phrase to parents, friends, family members, and of course, a romantic interest.

Here are a few examples. Remember, the English translations are not always literal, but correspond to the sense, and vice versa.

Ti adoro – (I adore you).

Ti voglio bene – (I care for you – I want the best for you).

Ti amo! – (I love you).

Ti voglio tanto bene – (I love you so much).

Sei tutto per me – (You are everything to me).

Senza di te non posso piu vivere – (I can’t live without you).

Sei il grande amore della mia vita – (You are the love of my life).

Italian Love Traditions

Italians have a romantic vision of love and finding “the one,” unlike many cultures where speed dating and matchmakers reign supreme. Flirting is an art in Italy. Men tend to be very complimentary and chivalrous, opening doors and paying for dates, even asking if it’s OK to kiss.

Women respond by laughing at a man’s jokes or making clever comebacks when they’re interested. In Italy, love truly is an art form and the many ways to say I love you prove it.

More: Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Dating


How To Say I Love You in Arabic

how to say i love you

The Arabic language has one common variation of I love you, depending on the gender being addressed.

Arabic Love Phrases

Ana Uhibbuka – (I love you)

Habib Albi – (Love of my heart).

Enta Habibi – (You are my love).

Arabic Love Traditions

Arranged marriages (arranged by the parents with the children’s consent) are still common in some Arabic-speaking countries. In many Arabic-speaking countries, religion and culture strictly discourage dating prior to marriage.

Similar to other countries, there are several celebrations leading up to a couples’ wedding ceremony including an engagement celebration in the bride’s home, a party to celebrate signing the marriage contract, and Henna night where the bride-to-be and her female friends draw Henna tattoos and enjoy refreshments and dancing.


How to Say I Love You in Mandarin

mandarin

Mandarin Love Phrases

Wo duini ganxingqu–(I’m fond of you).

Wo ai ni – (I love you).

Wo ai nǐ shengguo yiqie – (I love you more than anything).

Learn even more Mandarin love phrases here.

Chinese Dating Traditions

According to a blog on dating from YoYo Chinese, Chinese men start thinking about marriage much earlier in the relationship. Despite this intention to date to marry, they may still take the relationship slowly, and a large number of Chinese couples live and work in different cities.

Qixi Festival (Double Seventh Festival)

The Qixi Festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month and is a celebration based on the legend of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu.

According to Chinese legend, a supernatural fairy, Zhi Nu, travels to Earth to marry her love, Niu Lang, a kind-hearted farm hand. This upsets the God of Heaven, and Zhi Nu is forced to return to Heaven.

Niu Lang travels to Heaven with his children (thanks to the help of celestial cows) in search of his love. The Queen Mother creates a river to separate Zhi Nu from his love.

Niu Lang and Zhi Nu were allowed to reunite only on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, hence the double seventh festival.

The Qixi Festival is celebrated with gifts for loved ones, romantic dinners, and special dates.


How to Say I Love You in Japanese

japanese

Japanese Love Phrases

Daisuki desu – (I really like you). This can be used among friends, or playfully between couples.

Aishiteru – (I love you).

Watashi no isshoo no koibito – (You are the love of my life).

Japanese Love Traditions

Arranged marriages are still common in Japan, in fact, approximately 10 percent of all marriages are arranged.

Yui-no is a dinner to celebrate a newly-engaged couple, where the bride- and groom-to be-exchange gifts

Japanese weddings often take place in Shintô temples with Japanese architecture like stone dogs and water pavillions. Wedding celebrations have evolved in Japan, and in addition to Shinto traditions, some couples also incorporate Western traditions (like a white wedding dress) in their ceremony.

Learn more about Japanese wedding traditions here.


How to Say I Love You in Korean

korean

Korean Love Phrases

Sarang hae – (I love you).

Jugeul mankeum sarang hae– (I love you to death)

Dangshin-eul geu eotteon geot bodado deo saranghaeyo – (I love you more than anything).

Learn more romantic Korean phrases here.

Korean Love Traditions

Along with the national holidays, in South Korea, the 14th of each month is a fun, unofficial holiday. In Korea, women give men chocolate as a sign of affection on Valentine’s day. Generally, men will reciprocate this gift and give women chocolate on White Day (March 14th).

There is also Black Day on April 14th, where singles celebrate their lack of a serious relationship. Single friends come together to eat jajangmyeon (black noodles), and wish each other luck in finding that special someone in the coming year.


 

LoveInfographic2

 

While each culture has its own unique rituals surrounding dating and relationships, all have in their language the words we all long to hear, I love you.” If you’d like to impress someone special, or search for your true love in a faraway land, learning to speak a second language is a great way to prepare!

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How to Use Your Smartphone for Language Learning

10 Genius Ways to Use Your Smartphone to Learn a Language

How to Use Your Smartphone for Language Learning

Can your phone help you learn a language? Absolutely! Check out these tips and ideas from Spanish tutor Joan B. and start exploring…

 

You’re addicted to your phone (join the club) and love everything it offers you — access to friends, amazing deals through apps, and up-to-the-minute news. But did you know you can also use it to help you learn a language?

It’s true: your smartphone is one of the best tools you can use to strengthen your language skills — especially when you use your phone to supplement your learning in between regular language lessons with a tutor.

Ready to get started? Try these tips to transform your phone into a portable language-learning console!

1. Visit fun sites.

You now have permission to play games and fun apps as often as you’d like on your phone — as long as they’re in another language. Here are a few language-learning apps and websites you can explore:

Tip: If you’re working toward a specific goal, ask your language tutor for their recommendation for an app to use or a game to play based on your strengths and challenges.

2. Watch YouTube videos.

Try watching music videos in your target language! Often you can find the lyrics in the notes below the video to read along if you need extra help. You can also watch how-to tutorials on any subject that interests you (chess, yoga, etc.), or you can even go for language-learning videos.

Tip: Browse through our recommendations for YouTube channels for learning German, learning Italian, and learning French.

3. Listen to foreign music on Spotify.

You can also discover new artists and reap the benefits that come with listening to music in your target language. You’ll get a feeling for the culture and sentiment in addition to learning new vocabulary and pronunciation.

Tip: Check out tutor Christopher S.’s recommendations for 5 New Musicians Who Can Improve Your Spanish.

4. Message friends on WhatsApp.

This is my favorite way to communicate with friends abroad, since it’s secure and free for everyone (no surprise fees here!). You can send each other jokes, ask how their day is, and get in a little language conversation practice all at the same time.

Tip: Choose from one of these conversation starters in Spanish and start chatting!

5. Snapchat in another language.

Create snaps with language from your target language to practice, or watch snaps from the country or language you’re interested in to get a taste of what’s happening locally.

Tip: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages offers some great tips for using Snapchat here.

6. Try the WordReference App.

This handy dictionary is actually way more than a dictionary. It also includes threads from native speakers who share the true meaning of confusing phrases and word usage. It’s exhaustive, and in the unlikely case that you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can start a new thread and receive helpful advice.

Tip: Word-a-day updates like the one from SpanishDict are another great way to continue learning.

7. Keep lists of new vocabulary using Google Keep or Evernote.

Retaining new vocabulary is key in language learning, and keeping it in a list on your phone will allow you to review it frequently. You can also share the lists with others, like your teacher or tutor, or other friends learning the same language.

Tip: Struggling with remembering the vocab you’re learned? Check out my advice for memorizing French words.

8. Talk to Siri (or Google).

Did you know that if you change your settings on your phone to your target language, you can have long, deep conversations with Siri? You can ask her various probing questions (“How was your day?”; “Tell me a story, please?”) that will provoke long answers. You can listen to her pronunciation and read her words. Even better, she will test your pronunciation. If it’s a little off, she won’t understand; you’ll become much more precise and accurate thanks to her insistence.

Tip: Here’s a cool post from author Mike Boyle about how iOS 7’s Siri can help you learn a language.

9. Change your language settings on a few apps.

If you don’t feel ready to switch your whole phone to your new language, try changing it on just a few apps, like Facebook. Spanish learners, for example, will intuitively understand that “me gusta” means “like,” even if you’re brand-new at Spanish language learning. And by switching languages, you’ll absorb all kinds of new vocabulary and key phrases.

Tip: Learn how to change your language settings on Facebook here.

10. Join communities to get more conversation practice.

The best way to learn a language and speak colloquially is to get in more conversation practice! Try browsing through Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks to see how native speakers interact casually. Or, join one of our live, online group classes to chat with tutors and other students at your level.

Tip: More ideas for using Facebook here, via AlwaysSpanish.


Feeling better about your smartphone addiction? With these tips, you can use your phone to improve your language skills and learn something new. There’s so much to explore! Get started today, and watch your skills grow and thrive.

Readers, how do you use your smartphone for language learning? Leave a comment and share your best tip.

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side jobs for language lovers - teach abroad

10 Ways to Make Money as a Language Lover [Infographic]

Do you speak multiple languages? Maybe your linguistic love affair started in high school, when you took your first Spanish class. Maybe you were born into a bilingual family, exposed to the beauty of languages at an early age. Or maybe you even caught on later in life, after taking language classes just for fun.

Whatever the case, we applaud you! Being bilingual is an awesome skill, and one that can lead to higher-paying jobs, a sharper brain, and an expanded network of friends and colleagues. But beyond the pride and goal-achieving side of learning, did you know there are ways to make money with your skills?

Check out the infographic below for 10 perfect side jobs for language lovers…

10 Ways to Make Money as a Language Lover

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For a deep-dive into these tips, check out our guest post on FluentU, 10 Ways for Savvy Language Learners to Make Money on the Side (While Keeping the 9-to-5).

How to Make Money With Your Language Skills

1. Become a tutor.

Teaching part-time is one of the easiest side jobs for language lovers. Some companies may have you sign on as an hourly contractor, working specific hours at a specific location. Other companies offer more flexibility — with TakeLessons, for example, you can set your own prices and availability, as well as offer convenient online tutoring.

2. Work as a freelance translator.

Another popular option for language lovers is working as a freelance translator. Online translator jobs are plentiful and can be found through marketplaces like Upwork.

3. Grade/score standardized language examinations.

Many universities and testing centers outsource their grading for tests like the AP Spanish Exam. You can search for these jobs on the ETS website and HigherEdJobs.

4. Do some freelance writing.

If you’re a strong writer, why not combine that with your love for languages? Consider creating your own language-learning blog (you can then monetize it with ads or affiliate links once you’ve established an audience), or get paid on a per-article basis through Upwork or Zerys. (Tip: If you’re already a TakeLessons tutor, you can also get paid to write blog articles for us!)

5. Create language videos on YouTube.

If you’re a natural on camera, creating a YouTube channel might be right up your alley! Similar to monetizing a personal blog, once you’ve built your audience you can make money through ads that play before each video. This is a really flexible side job, since you can create videos in bulk and then release them whenever you want.

6. Sell your (original) content.

Many schools and companies will pay tutors to create quizzes, worksheets, posters, and other course materials. Check out sites like Teachers Pay Teachers and TeacherLingo. See also: 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses via Learning Revolution.

7. Create a language app or game.

Are you tech-savvy? Creating a language app or game can end up being one of the most lucrative side jobs for language lovers — if you have a great idea, that is. Make sure to do your research, since your app will need to be better than the competitors (and there’s a lot of them!). See also: How Much Money Can You Earn With an App? via Fueled.

8. Teach at a museum, library, or community college.

Museums and libraries are sometimes open to hosting events, talks, and even mini-courses, if you know how to market yourself well. Or if you’re willing to commit more time, consider looking into community colleges in your area — some hire instructors for language courses based on expertise, not credentials.

9. Lead a trip to a foreign country.

Did you study abroad in high school or college? Most people look back on their experience fondly; immersion truly is one of the best ways to learn a language! Many study abroad programs hire trip leaders and coordinators, if you have the time to spare. Look for programs that fit your availability, whether that’s leading a short-term excursion or a longer trip.

10. Teach English abroad (great for a gap year!)

Teaching English abroad is another very popular option, if you’ve got the time! Programs include a range of locations, contract lengths, and pay. Check out sites like TeachAway and GoAbroad for opportunities. See also: Teaching English Abroad: Are You Qualified? via GoOverseas.

Additional Resources – Do Bilingual Workers Earn More?

If a side hustle isn’t your thing, consider using your language skills within your 9-to-5. Although it’s yet to be determined whether bilingualism increases income on its own, there are tons of benefits that come from learning a second (or third) language. Here are some additional resources:

Readers, how else have you made money using your language skills? What other side jobs for language lovers do you recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know!

JasonNPost Contributor: Jason N. offers online tutoring for English and Spanish. He majored in Spanish at UC Davis, lived in Mexico for 3 years where he completed a Master’s degree in Counseling, and studied Spanish Literature and Psychology at the University of Costa Rica. Learn more about Jason here! 

Photo by teflheaven

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learning a language as an introvert

How to Survive (and Thrive) as an Introvert Learning a Language

learning a language as an introvert

Are extroverts better at learning languages? Au contraire! Learn how to survive (and thrive) as an introvert with these tips from Alexandria, VA tutor Elisha O...

 

 

There’s been a lot of hype lately about introverts and extroverts. And no matter which side you identify with (or if you’re a little of both!) there are definitely advantages and strengths on both sides of the spectrum.

As an introvert myself, my most productive and creative time is the time I spend alone. However, I’ve found that there are also many skills that simply cannot be done alone — and learning a new language is one of them.

Sure, you can stay home and read, study, and watch movies in your target language. But in order to really improve, communicating with others needs to be part of your learning strategy. While some extroverts jump at the opportunity to go out and socialize in a foreign language, the same idea leaves many introverts shaking in their boots.

So, does that mean that extroverts are better at learning languages? Not at all. But introverts may need to try different strategies along the way.

Here is a list of the most common obstacles introverts face when learning a language and how to solve them.

Problem: The thought of a “language meetup group” makes you cringe
Solution: Ease into learning from the comfort of your home

If you’ve never felt like your best self at networking events or mixers, your instinct will probably be to avoid group language meetups. Walking into a building and breaking the ice with one person after another in your first language is scary enough, let alone doing it in your second or third!

Well, there’s good news for us introverts. These days, the internet offers opportunities to connect with others no matter where you are — even from your own home. This makes a lot of students feel more comfortable, since you’re not in an unfamiliar location. Technology provides just the right amount of distance to feel comfortable and secure. 

I recommend easing into a new language with online, private language lessons with a tutor, and then progressing to online group classes to get conversation practice.

Problem: You’re good at reading, writing, and listening, but struggle with speaking
Solution: Practice speaking without people around

While this may affect introverts and extroverts alike, introverts are less likely to seek out speaking opportunities and get out of their comfort zones, which furthers the gap.

Before you delve into a new language (whether for the first time or after a long hiatus), try listening to music in your target language and singing along as best you can. You’ll get a feel for vocabulary as well as how to pronounce the words, which can help you feel a lot more confident the next time you speak out loud.

You can also try talking to yourself throughout the day in your target language. For example, try narrating what you’re doing as you get ready for work or school in the morning. The trick to overcoming your nerves is often just practicing speaking more!

Problem: Breaking the ice is not your forte
Solution: Prep yourself with conversation starters

“You mean I have to… think of stuff to say?”

No! Not necessarily. As introverts, we often prefer for others to set the tone and pace of the conversation, at least at first! If starting conversations isn’t your cup of tea, and talking to strangers makes you queasy, consider requesting more structured classes from your teacher.

My ESL students also enjoy the seasonal book clubs that I coordinate. With this format, students don’t have the pressure of responding to small talk questions or improvising. The book provides a context in which they can frame the conversation, and they can even prepare responses to discussion questions ahead of time.

Problem: You’re afraid of looking “dumb”
Solution: Find a tutor you feel comfortable with

If there’s one thing I hear from students the most, it’s this. Sure, learning would be so much easier if we could travel back in time and return to being children, when our brains are like sponges and our pride could never be hurt! But learning a language as an adult can be a totally different experience. We often fear that we will appear less intelligent and articulate than we really are when we speak another language.

My advice for these students is to find a tutor who has actually learned a second language or lived in a foreign country. These teachers get it. They know first-hand the courage it takes to learn a new language, and will support and encourage you every step of the way!

Introverts, what other tips have you found helpful for learning a new language? Leave a comment below and share it with us!

Photo by uoeducation

ElishaOPost Author: Elisha O.
Elisha teaches English, ESL, Essay Writing, and Grammar in Alexandria, VA, as well as online. She earned her degrees in Psychology and Spanish from Western Washington University. Learn more about Elisha here!

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books for language learning

Here’s Why Fall is the Perfect Time to Learn a New Language

Even if you’ve been out of school for many years, back-to-school season is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby and learn something new. If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, why not start now? Read on for tips from tutor Joan B

 

Remember going back to school as a child? Or perhaps you have children now that you’re sending back to school? It’s an exciting time for all ages. And if you want to learn a new language or resume your study, the back-to-school season is an ideal time to do so!

Here’s how to make the most of this time of year:

1. Use the season change to set a new schedule or routine.

language learning in the fall

Now that you’re well-rested from lazy summer days, you can focus and choose a new routine for the fall. Learning a new language requires consistent practice, so you’ll need to carve out time for it in your new routine. Commit to a minimum amount of practice or study time (it doesn’t have to be a lot – just make it doable), and then get to it! As you work toward your goal, you’ll feel energized, capable, and efficient.

2. Motivate yourself by creating your own syllabus.

Back-to-School the Best Time to Start Learning a Language!

This tip is especially effective if you studied the language in high school, or if you have some previous experience with it. You probably have some goals in mind, whether you’re learning for business opportunities, an upcoming vacation, or just for fun. Work with your language tutor to write up a simple syllabus, based on those goals. Taking control of your learning will keep you motivated and excited to learn. (Struggling to stay on track? Check out these tips for a busy schedule.)

3. Search for back-to-school specials for supplies you need.

french dictionaries

Most stores have back-to-school sales around this time, so take advantage of the specials. Remember how you used to love picking out erasers and pencils, and notebooks with cool covers? You can still enjoy the back-to-school frenzy by shopping for any supplies you need or keeping your eye out for money-saving deals on lessons and classes.

4. Make studying fun.

conversation partner for language

Just like children form friendships and find study buddies at school, adults need to form a community for learning. Working with a private language tutor ensures you’ll get weekly conversation practice, but practicing beyond that lesson time is also important! If you don’t have a conversation partner already, try attending an online class to e-meet other students.

And if you have kids who are in school, study alongside them! As they complete their homework, you can catch up on your language learning time. Not only will it be effective, you’ll be an inspirational model of hard work and integrity for your child(ren).

5. Check out your local library.

Harry Potter in Spanish

Did you enjoy the smell of books as a child, or the hours in the library with a cup of coffee as a college student? You can relive that nostalgia by going to your local library to study or check out new materials. Libraries are an incredible source of information and materials for foreign language learners! You might find CDs with audio, foreign music and films on DVD, online resources, and much more. Using the library is a frugal and enjoyable way to learn your new language.

6. Plan a trip.

travel to learn a language

Fall doesn’t have to be the end to vacation time! Consider taking a trip to jumpstart your language learning. Scheduling it midway through the fall will allow you time to learn conversational phrases, so you can speak to the locals. Fares are often cheaper in the fall, too, after the summer rush. Examples of convenient trips include Mexico, Cuba, or Puerto Rico for Spanish learners, and Quebec for French learners. Practicing with native speakers is only a skip, hop, and a plane ride away!

I hope these tips will inspire and motivate you to get started today. May the fall be a rich time of learning, growth, and improvement for you in the language of your dreams!

Photos by Tim GreenKatie Armstrongjpmatth

Joan BPost Author: Joan B.
Joan B. lives in Carmichael, CA and has been teaching high school Spanish for more than 18 years. A lover of language, she’s studied French, Arabic, and Italian and spent time living in Spain. Learn more about Joan here!

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efficient language learners

8 Characteristics of Successful Language Learners | Language Tips

efficient language learners

What do the most successful language learners have in common? Find out eight common traits in this post from Spanish tutor Jason N

 

When you first start learning a new language, it might seem frustrating. There are tons of new vocabulary words and new grammar rules to learn, and listening to native speakers may make your head spin.

But don’t give up! You successfully learned one language well so far (or you wouldn’t be understanding this post!), so you can clearly learn another. And the fact that you’re even reading this article shows me another important factor — that you’re motivated to learn!

Outside of that, though, some people seem to learn languages faster than others. More often than not, it’s because they possess certain traits and characteristics that help them along the way. I’ve been tutoring for a while now, so I started thinking about what these traits are.

Here are the characteristics I see in my most successful language students:

1) Observant

The most effective language learners spend time and energy outside of classes and lessons trying to understand the language’s clues, patterns, structure, and organization. Along with this, you should keep notes to monitor what you’ve learned, and come prepared with questions for your tutor, teacher, or professor.

Learning Tip: As you learn, immediately apply new words and grammatical concepts/rules by writing or speaking. You’ll likely already be doing this with your tutor, but continue practicing in between your lessons, too. Pay attention to contextual clues as you speak with others, and write down any patterns you notice.

2) Pragmatic

My best students know what works and what doesn’t for their personal learning style. This includes an active approach in tailoring your personal preferences and needs in all learning situations, so you don’t waste time on what is ineffective for you.

This characteristic also involves thoughtfulness, including picking up on the objective of a given in-class exercise and why it’s important to your overall language learning.

Learning Tip: Figure out your learning style, and make sure your tutor knows it too.

3) Dedicated

Super-learners believe they can always learn something, even if they dislike or struggle with a given concept, topic, or rule. They steadfastly seek learning environments that facilitate their unique needs and goals.

They also know there are no shortcuts when it comes to learning! Efficient language learning requires a combination of a great teacher or tutor, the right learning resources, and a commitment to practicing on your own time.

Learning Tip: Supplement your lessons with other ways of interacting and learning. This could include taking an online group class, playing a language-learning game, or listening to a podcast during your commute to and from work or school.

4) Fearless

My best students frequently seek out opportunities to chat with native or experienced speakers, with the aim of communicating and understanding before accurateness. Down the road, while temporarily prioritizing communication, super-learners know they will learn to balance communicating with accuracy as they improve.

Learning Tip: Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone! Seek out opportunities to chat with others, whether they’re native speakers or another student learning the same language. If you get nervous, check out these conversation tips.

5) Patient and centered

Research has shown the best way to learn is with a relaxed, yet alert inner-posture. In my five years of experience as a tutor and 12 years as a Spanish language learner, I have seen that one’s attitude, including patience with the process, can be more important than your initial skill level and intelligence!

Learning Tip: If  you’re feeling frustrated with your progress, take a step back. Learning a new language takes time, and some concepts and rules may seem easier than others. Let your tutor know if you’re struggling with something, and spend extra time on that.

6) Realistic

Most languages are highly complex. Efficient language learners are realistic, systematic, and goal-oriented in their approach. The involves an active long-term commitment, effective organization, and knowing that it’s unrealistic to aim for perfection.

Learning Tip: Think about your short- and long-term goals, and write them down. Make sure they’re realistic and reachable! If you have a busy schedule, you may not have a ton of time to set aside — and that’s OK. Just make sure you’re noticing consistent progress, no matter how small.

7) Personable

As trait #4 mentioned, consistent contact with experienced and/or native speakers is key. Super-learners have the social support needed to continually practice the language, in all types of settings.

Learning Tip: Get as much practice as you can speaking in your target language! Chat with other students online, find a language exchange partner, or teach a family member what you’ve learned so far.

8) Worldly

Lastly and most importantly, efficient language learning requires embracing the culture of the new language! They know that a language is much more than vocab and grammar; it’s an entirely new way of conceptualizing and seeing the world.

Learning Tip: If you have the resources, consider traveling to a country where the language is spoken. Immersion is proven to help you learn faster, as you’ll get real-life practice.

Recap – 8 Characteristics You Need for Effective Language Learning

8 characteristics of effective language learners

As you can see, there’s nothing inherently special about these students — these traits can all be mastered throughout the learning process.

Getting started is the first step. Find a language tutor today and you’ll be on your way to speaking a new language!

Photo by Nazareth College

JasonNPost Author: Jason N.
Jason N. tutors in English and Spanish in Athens, GA. He majored in Spanish at UC Davis, lived in Mexico for 3 years where he completed a Master’s degree in Counseling, and studied Spanish Literature and Psychology at the University of Costa Rica. Learn more about Jason here!  

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are language lessons worth it

How to Stop Wasting Your Money & Time on Language Lessons

are language lessons worth it

Are language lessons worth the money, or should you learn another way? French tutor Jinky B.  shares her tips here… 

 

Thinking about taking a language class or working individually with a language tutor for French, Spanish, or another language? With so many resources available these days, it can be a daunting task to pick the right way to learn. And it’s no secret that signing up for private language tutoring is usually one of the pricier options.

Aspiring learners often ask, “Are language lessons worth it, or are they a waste of money? Do they even work?”

Here’s the thing: while private lessons can be more expensive than using a free app online, the benefits of individual lessons can pay back tenfold.

Yes, those language lessons can be a waste of money — if you’re not taking learning seriously.

Language lessons and classes work — if you put in the effort.

In order to reach your language learning goals, here are five things you can do to better maximize your progress and not waste your money.

1. Determine your objectives and goals.

Let’s take a French student, for example. Why do you want to learn French? Do you have an upcoming ski trip to the French Alps? Are you moving to the south of France for graduate school? Do you want to perfect the French accent?

Decide the reason for your language lessons. Saying that you want to become fluent is too broad of an objective. Narrow down the specifics. When you’re on the ski trip, would you like to be able to talk to the ski instructors about une piste (a ski trail)? For your move for graduate school, would you like to be able to carry on a 30-minute conversation with a colleague about the lesson?

With your final objective in mind, this is why private lessons are so much more effective than other learning methods. Together with your tutor, you can break your objective down into manageable (and measurable) goals. Then, he or she will know exactly how to organize your time together. Reaching your goals and seeing the direct outcome of the money you’ve spent will help you understand that your lessons were worth it!

2. Practice every day.

Most students take language lessons once a week, but you’ll also need to commit to practicing on your own — every day. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to take up a ton of time, and you can even incorporate it into your daily life. If you like to drink a cup of coffee every morning, for example, use that 15 to 20 minutes while drinking your coffee to go over any new words or phrases that your teacher introduced that week.

If you’re not setting aside this time each day, you risk forgetting the information you’ve learned, which can set you back. Make the most of your money by committing yourself to at least 15 minutes every day. At your next lesson, your tutor will review your progress — and you’ll get direct feedback and corrections so you stay on track.

3. Make that practice time efficient.

Many students balance language lessons with work and other responsibilities — so the trick is to make sure the time you are spending on practice is efficient! For vocabulary in particular, the best way to learn is through rote memorization. Flashcards are a great way to do this: each week, create new flashcards using the new vocabulary words you’ve learned, with a picture on one side and the word on the other side. With this method, it’s best to not write out the English translation on the card, so that you’re training yourself to recognize your target language. Here’s an example for a French vocabulary word:

Apple Flashcard - French vocab

4. Talk out loud.

Another one of the biggest benefits to working with a tutor is having someone to talk to in your target language, who can also correct any mistakes you’re making. Staring at vocabulary words alone isn’t going to make you fluent. Instead, you need real-time conversation practice, and that’s what your language lessons and classes are for.

However, you should also be talking out loud when you’re practicing on your own. Pronounce each word as you review your flashcards, and with longer words, tap each syllable out. The more you actually speak the language, the better progress you’ll make.

Also, try to start conversations in your target language when you’re out and about! Here are 20 conversational Spanish phrases, and 25 conversational French phrases to get you started. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also find a local or online language learning group to practice with!

5. Review and prepare for your lessons.

Lastly, to really make the most of your language lessons, make a habit of properly preparing for them. During the week as you’re reviewing what you’ve learned, note items that you have difficulty mastering (pronunciation, grammar rules, translations, etc.). This way, you’ll have a list handy to go over with your tutor during the next lesson — which is exactly what they’re there for!

Your tutor will prepare lesson plans with your objectives and goals in mind, however, it’s important to communicate any obstacles that may be hindering the learning process. In the end, you’re the one in charge.


So there you have it: five tips for NOT wasting your time and money on language lessons. And in the future when you’re speaking in your target language with others — whether you’re on vacation, at your job, or meeting with new friends and family — you’ll realize that was money well-spent!

Make the move and commit to learning with a trained and experienced tutor who not only speaks another language, but wants to share their love for languages. Good luck!

Photo by Luka Knezevic – Strika

Post Author: Jinky B.
Jinky B. teaches French and ESL in Jacksonville, FL. She has her Bachelor’s of Arts in French, French Literature and Psychology from Florida State University and has over five years of teaching experience. Learn more about Jinky B. here!

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