5 Ways to brush up your lingo and learn a new language in adulthood
To mark European Languages Day (Monday September 26) we look at the best ways to brush up on your lingo and the benefits you gain.
“Le singe est dans l’arbre et la souris est sous la table” … ah, those GCSE French lessons; learning rather bizarre sayings by rote. We imagine you’ve never had much call to say why the monkey was in the tree or who put the mouse was under the table, but one thing’s for sure: learning a language is good for you.
Research reveals that whether it’s for work, travel or just for fun, brushing up your bilinguals helps boost your problem solving skills, improve short and long-term memory, and increase your creative thinking. Added to that, it broadens your minds and horizons, developing an appreciation of different cultures.
All well and good, but how many of us actually dip our toes in learning a new language once we hit adulthood?
WHERE DO YOU START?
Like everything else in modern life, there’s an app for it … and language skills are no different. With more than ten million subscriptions, Babbel claims 92% of users improve their proficiency in just two months; while Duolingo offers thirty-plus languages, with bite-sized lessons from just a few minutes a day.
Pen pals might sound rather antiquated (remember those awkward French exchange trips?) but in these days of video calls and emailing it’s very easy to hook up with a long-distance friend. You’ll find it a less intimidating way to chatting with someone abroad, and writing a letter with the help of Google Translate, for example, can be great practice. Check out InterPals or Global Penfriends for connections.
You can even learn a new language from the comfort of your sofa with Netflix’s Language Reactor. You can choose from a selection of streaming films and series with dual subtitles, a pop-up dictionary and video playback controls.
Or go old school and go back to school. Many colleges offering night school courses in languages, perfect for those wanting to add an extra skill to their CV.