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From mundane to memorable: How to jazz up your journey to fluency

Should boredom ever strike your language learning routine, here’s a creative and fun way to re-ignite the spark.

When you’re on a journey, some days the scenery is spectacular, the meals are deliciously satisfying and you talk with friendly folk in glorious sunshine.

Yet then the weather turns cold and grey. The train seat is lumpy and there’s nothing to see out the window. The food is expensive, looks weird and makes you feel sick. No one smiles at you let alone speaks to you.

Language learning has such ups and downs too.

There are times when you quickly learn new phrases, easily make out what they’re saying in the film and can politely convince your boss the clinic needs a new scanner.

You’re making steady progress, plus having fun.

Then you can go through a stage when you forget words, can’t understand what’s being said and trip over your tongue while trying to find the right verb ending.

It all feels boring, repetitive, tedious.

These bumps in the road dishearten you. So you skip a few days. Perhaps you even think about throwing in the towel.

How can you get out of this funk?

You could push yourself to keep going.

You could take a break.

Or you could pick a personal project related to your target language.

A project is like a theme but with a tangible outcome.

What project could you do?

Here are 5 ideas to get the ball rolling:

  1. Find out about a speciality food or drink – such as chocolate, popular spices, a liqueur – and regularly post about your discoveries on a blog or on social media. You could also create a paper or digital booklet.

  2. Research a road trip on a famous route or a walk on a famous path and prepare your itinerary with accompanying travel notes for each day.

  3. Choose a musical or opera and discover its history. Learn the lyrics off by heart so you can sing along with confidence.

  4. Investigate new trends, techniques or tools connected to your work and prepare a presentation. Record yourself. You could even volunteer to present it to colleagues at a team meeting or in a lunch hour.

  5. Explore your genealogy whilst brushing up your heritage language. Create a family tree, pass it around the family and start some interesting conversations.

Language learning based on projects is engaging, empowering, and effective.

Set a timeframe – 4 or 6 or 12 weeks – and move from passive to proactive learning.

Pick a project and keep moving toward fluency.

Need a hand to set up and stick to your DIY language learning? I can help.

© Christina Wielgolawski