Updated: Aug 11
How to learn a language on your own pretty much for free!
Learning a new language can be fun, and so useful! There are so many reasons to start acquiring a new language. Yet sometimes, even though learning a language can be rewarding, it does not always make sense to spend tons of money. Luckily, there are many cost-effective ways to start or continue learning a new language. Here is a list of seven different ways to learn a new language within any budget.
What is great about this option is that you can find people with the same interests to talk with. There are many apps and websites that can lead you to individual people who want to do a language exchange. This is where two people meet, and the divide their time between two languages. You can either split the session 50/50, or ask and respond in the languages you want to practice. Usually, people are meeting for free.
Search sites such as Meetup.com or Facebook to find where recent immigrants, culture groups or lovers of language meet up over dinner, parties, sports games, and more. Usually there is an understanding that everyone wants to practice their agreed upon languages. This is a great way to use your free time socializing, meeting new people and doing something you enjoy while developing your language skills.
TV and Movies
What is fantastic about using television and movies to learn a language is that these are usually categorized by culture. For example, when I moved to Madrid I learned that the famous show Elité takes place in Madrid, Spain, so I learned about their particular accents and dialect as well as Spanish. This was super useful, since slang, accents and colloquialisms are very specific to different regions of Spain. Do you already re-watch your favorite shows over and over? This is a great habit to get into when you are learning a language, because you can choose to go without subtitles, subtitles in the language and eventually without. Replaying your favorite shows can get your ear used to unfamiliar dialects.
Another thing you are probably doing in your daily life. Choosing to watch your favorite type of youtube videos (Sports, Makeup, Comedy) can teach you about culture, and also keep you engaged. Youtube videos are usually digestible, and simulates having a conversation with a native speaker. As well, youtube is free, and most people on youtube post continuous content. This strategy may be almost better than talking to a native, because you can pause and rewind when you are stuck. Youtube tutorials are also not the only way to learn a language. You can also find free classes online as well.
There are many paid and free options of language apps. Language apps are also great to fit into your schedule without commuting to a language class. You can do bite sized lessons, view your progress, and hold yourself accountable. It is worthwhile to try out as many apps as you want to see what fits best for you. You can learn a lot about yourself and how you learn by the style app you prefer.
Music is a great way to connect to people and other cultures. I like to ask my bilingual friends to tell me their favorite music, so we can bond over it later. Becoming up to date with the music in whatever language you are learning takes your learning a step further. Also, because songs are repetitive, it is a convenient way to learn grammar. Whatever grammar activity you want to work on, just google “songs that use the…” and you can get some examples that will help you learn. Songs can also help you learn new vocabulary. Listening to music also exposes you to different inflections of words and phrases.
Personally, I am a goal oriented person. When it comes to languages, I need reasons to keep myself motivated. I like to assign myself tasks, like listening to X amount of podcasts a day, using X amount of vocabulary in a conversation, reading a news article. You can also apply to take a language proficiency test, being responsible for foreign language speakers at work, or composing something in the language you are learning, and much more. It is motivating to have a tangible outcome from all of your hard work that you can show off to your friends.
So these are seven different ways to learn a language in a budget friendly way. Hopefully these suggestions can help you in your learning, and take you closer to your language goals. My hope is that these suggestions will also add some more fun into your process, because learning a new language can provide many benefits-it should not matter how much money you have to learn a new language.