How to Learn a Language from home

Hello everyone! If you read my Quarantine Bucket List post, you’ll know that one of the things that I am endeavouring to achieve during this period of free time is to improve my Spanish, along with learning sign language.

Throughout my five years of being taught languages in the school system so far, I realised that although school does give you a good basis for the language in which you are studying, it is possible to teach yourself a language through an array of methods from the comfort of your own home (which is kind of the only way that’s possible as of this moment in time).

Just to put out a disclaimer, I am not fluent in Spanish or any other language except English; but I do know that these methods have helped me to improve my skills and also many others who I have discovered through extensive research. Also, everyone learns through different methods and whichever methods work for you do still require solid commitment and dedication – there is no way to become fluent in another language faster, although ideally spending time with a native person would aid the process and even being fluent in another similar language; but obviously travel is not an option right now, so we have to make use of resources at hand.


To begin, if you have ever studied a language, you will know that there are five main elements to achieving success in your chosen idiom: reading, grammar, listening, writing and speaking. Without being able to recognise one of these elements, you won’t be able to reach full understanding – it is key that you practise each one of these.

Reading

Firstly, apps are a great way to start learning. I personally prefer Duolingo as it has a good range of all four elements and a lot of levels in a myriad of areas. A lot of people wonder if you can become fluent in a language using an app alone, and I think that the answer is no; but apps are a great aid to the learning process.

If only I had a million dollars…

Another thing you can use for reading is simple books in your chosen language. If you search up easy Spanish books or Spanish children’s books, for example, in the ibook store, you can most likely find free books in your chosen language (obviously replacing the ‘Spanish’ with your chosen language). Write down all the words and phrases you don’t know, and this will also teach you to develop skills to work out what other things mean if you read articles or more complex texts.

Thirdly, something that I have done, partly because I have a lot of time on my hands, and partly because it does actually help, is labelled everything in my room with the Spanish equivalent word! This is a good thing to do because there is constantly a reminder of the language around me and I’m absorbing new vocabulary without even knowing.

*Tip: use Word Reference to look up words NOT Google Translate as it can be highly inaccurate.

Grammar

Although this is many people’s least favourite part or learning a language, grammar is vital in understanding and being able to structure sentences and understand text. If you go online and do some searching, you should be able to find the different aspects of grammar such as tenses, conjugations and sentence structures (do the adjectives come before or after the noun? How many verb endings are there? Are there similarities to English?)

Practise writing out verb conjugations a couple of times a week until they go into your head and try to keep a grammar notebook that you can refer to.

Listening

If you use Duolingo or even type a word in your chosen language into Google Translate (the one exception to using it!), this will teach you pronunciation. When you first begin to learn a language, look up how each letter of the alphabet sounds so that you are able to recognise words, even if you don’t know them (remember, their alphabet might not be the same as your first language’s!)

TV shows, movies and YouTube videos are another great way to get used to the sound of the language you are studying. Try to put on subtitles in your chosen language, not any language which you are already fluent in as you will be tempted to just read the subtitles and not focus in on the sounds of the language.

Finally, listen to music! I am currently creating a playlist consisting of Spanish music and I am loving the new tunes I’m discovering! If you would like to check it out, here it is!

Writing

The main way I improve my writing skills is by keeping a sort of diary. Each day I write a few sentences in it either about my day or how I’m feeling. This can be something simple such as “Today the weather was nice” or “I am reading a book called…”, and you can build this up as you gain more knowledge and vocabulary.

Other than that, you can write short essays on certain topics you have been studying or reviews on movies you have watched or books you have read.

Also, make sure to write out new vocab and try to keep a word bank as you go along, and write it out a few times so you will remember it.

Speaking

Speaking is a little more tricky if you are studying a language from your home and don’t know any native or fluent speakers. Some tips I do have are repeating words and phrases you learn through videos or apps.

If you ever get the chance, you can find someone who speaks the language you are learning and if they are trying to learn your language also, you could help each other.

Obviously the best way to take your learning to the next level would ideally be visiting the home country of your language, but it isn’t always accessible, especially right now – but if you ever do get the chance I would highly recommend! I got the chance to visit Barcelona last year and use a little of the language I had learned so far and have planned to go to Spain in August if that is possible by then.


I could talk all day about the benefits of learning a language, however I am sure that you lovely readers know already and don’t need me to go off on one! However, if you would like a post dedicated to that, I would be happy to talk about it! Honestly, if I had a YouTube channel, I would talk forever!

A few of you in my Quarantine Bucket List post were also wondering where I am doing my British Sign Language course, so if you’re interested, click here.

I hope that this post helped you or even inspired you to learn a new language – if you do want to, now is the perfect time! I hope you’re all safe and healthy!

Until next time, CoffeeeAndCream x

22 thoughts on “How to Learn a Language from home

  1. This is so useful! I’m continuing my learning of French, which I started when I was really young but after completing it in my A-levels I didn’t want to look at it again! But I’m surprised how much I remember. I’ve been using Duolingo for it, but I found when I tried learning a language from scratch, it was really difficult for me to use Duo. But I think some of your other tips are really helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading – I agree that Duolingo doesn’t cause you to become fluent in a language as I find that I need an explanation as to why the words are formed in certain ways and orders, and they often begin by teaching you quite random sentences.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s such a great post! We lived in Japan for a while and leading up to that tried to learn at least a little bit of Japanese. I used mainly textbooks but somehow missed out on the writing and speaking part which probably is the reason why I’m still far from conversational level. I agree that Duolingo is a fun supplementary tool for studying a bit every day and it teaches you crucial phrases like ‘my dog sells hats’ – which we loved so much that we turned it into a little animation 😀
    Does the Spanish course have funny sentences like that?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tu Foto ~ Osuna
    Fue un error amarte ~ Cornelio Vega
    No me hubiera enamorado ~ Cornelio Vega y su Dinasta
    En Donde Esta Tu Amor ~ Virlan Garcia
    Me La Avente ~ Carin Leon
    Quiero Ser ~ Los Primos del Este
    Con Tus Besos ~ Eslabon Armado
    Te Regalo ~ Ulices Chaidez
    Porque me enamore ~ Ulices Chaidez
    Te Metiste ~ Ariel Camacho
    Mi Niña Traviesa ~ Luis Coronel
    Perfecta ~ Banda los Recoditos
    Siempre Te Voy a Querer ~ Calibre 50
    Simplemente Gracias ~ Calibre 50
    Mi Meta Contigo ~ Banda Los Sebastianes
    Adios Amor ~ Christian Nodal
    A Traves Del Vaso ~ Banda Los Sebastianes
    Robarte un Beso ~ Carlos Vives, Sebastian Yatra
    El Color De Tus Ojos ~ Banda MS
    El Zoologico ~ El Fantasma
    La calma de piedra ~ El Fantasma

    Like

    1. Thank you, I’ll definitely add these to my playlist – I’ve actually really been loving to listen to Alvaro Soler, ¡Me encanta su música alegre! (Is that’s correct Spanish?! Haha)

      Like

  4. This is so helpful! I was studying Welsh for my GCSE (as I live in Wales and it’s compulsory) and, even though I’m not going to be studying it for A-level, is like to keep up the Lang.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s