Christopher Jon is an Assitant Professor of the English Language.
You Don´t Need Money or Extra Time, Only the Internet
Adapt your current online and social media habits to learn a second language naturally without paying for courses, tutors, or any other fees. The problem for most people is they don't have time or motivation to keep learning a new language. That is why doing the following 4 things will keep your mind, eyeballs, ears, and mouth focused on learning your target language without needing any more time or money exclusively for language learning.
1. Do Most or All of Your Online Reading in Your Target Language
Use websites in your target language. There is often a select button somewhere on the page to change the language, or if you have an account at that site, often you´re able to change the language setting on the site. Do this for ALL the sites you visit - news sites, Facebook, YouTube, Amazon....etc., even google itself if you are really motivated. You could create new accounts (Facebook, Youtube...) for using in your target language so you keep your current account separate if you wish. You can use google translate to help you with any text you don't understand. There are also many browser add-ons such as dictionaries and in-line translators. Go through all your bookmarks if you wish and orient your web usage to your target language.
2. Do most or all Online Chatting and Speaking in Your Target Language
There are many ways to do this. Facebook and Facebook Messenger and similar sites are obvious, but there are also dedicated sites for people who wish to do a language exchange in which you practice both your native language and your target language. Italki is one example of a site where you can do language exchange.
You can text chat sometimes to practice writing, and you can voice chat sometimes to practice speaking, and use them both together if you wish. Arrange all that with the person you meet on the site. It will also reduce your stress as you have fun with new people practicing language. Find groups and people who share your interests and you will have a very enjoyable time chatting naturally and with purpose.
You can also find online tutors often at very reasonable prices to focus exclusively with you on your target language, but this just isn't necessary as you can just as easily learn the grammar through free websites and youtube videos.
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3. Keep Most or All of Your Computer Files in Your Target Language
Convert your files, which includes any notes, personal writing, journaling, google drive, spreadsheets, and in fact any file that you think can be changed to your target language. This will help keep your language learned before you all the time and focused on what''s most relevant and important to you. In other words, you will be learning how to express the ideas and vocabulary important to you in your target language.
Take a passage you have already written in your native language and try to translate it into your target language with the help of google translate or a similar tool. You can type in your target language and see how your doing, an excellent live teaching tool! Or, if your pressed for time or just beginning, just have google translate it for you, making sure click the "switch direction" button on google translate to check that your original meaning is maintained - you can then edit in either your target language or native language to correct any wrongly translated words or sentences.
4. Watch Youtube Videos of Interest With Subtitles in Your Target Language
It''s best to watch videos spoken in your target language. You can turn on subtitles in your native language if you need that, or you can turn on subtitles in your target language which keeps you immersed more in your target language so that you are both hearing and seeing your target language. Youtube also lets you slow down the speed of the playback. Slow down the video to 75% or even 50% if you need to. It's such an excellent feature for learning a language! Watch what interests you most. It doesn't need to be videos teaching you about language, watch what you are most motivated to pay attention to.
Doing things your already doing online, but doing them in your target language, is the best way to naturally learn and stay motivated to learn a new language. You will find this a very enjoyable adventure, thinking in new ways, meeting new people, just to name two.
JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on February 02, 2020:
Good suggestions. I guess the ultimate goal is to learn to think in the target language.
Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on February 02, 2020: