It’s a tech-centric world, and we’re just living in it. While the world around us becomes increasingly digitized and tech-based, there are still many overlooked opportunities to upgrade our lives through technology. Old habits die hard, but it’s never too late to change things for the better and step up your game. When it comes to language learning, opportunities to integrate daily technology and learning are abound. Experts agree that authentic content is essential to language-learning success. It’s the same reason why those who study abroad learn much faster and retain longer — they’re immersed in authentic content like native speakers, real-time culture, and relevant conversation.
Thanks to modern technology, you no longer have to travel around the globe to access authenticity — it’s right in the palm of your hands. Switch some of your most regularly used daily tech to another language and you have instant access to integrated, authentic learning that is immediately applicable to your life. We’ve rounded up five of the most effective setting changes you can make to boost daily language learning — and don’t worry; you can keep Siri in English.
1. Change the language settings on your phone
This small adjustment is one of the easiest ways to integrate learning a new language into your daily routine. Opt out of English on your smartphone and you’ll find yourself intuitively navigating your phone and engaging with useful new vocabulary to make phone calls, send texts, and use your favorite apps. Just remember to switch back to English when you go to order that pizza or call your grandma. You know she doesn’t have time for that.
2. Adjust the language on your GPS
We know it sounds scary, but trust us — changing your GPS is one of the most effective ways to learn navigation vocabulary in a new language. Before you make the switch, be sure to review relevant vocabulary like directions, distance, and time. Then, practice your second-language navigation on routes you already know well. Try it out during your daily commute, on your way to a friend’s house, and on your way home. Before you know it, you’ll be navigating your next road trip in Mandarin or using Spanish to find your way to the nearest coffee shop. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be putting your skills to good use abroad.
3. Change the subtitle preferences on movies and shows
You already telenovelas, why not use them to learn authentic words and phrases in Spanish? Movies and television – whether they’re in English or another language – present the perfect opportunity for authentic engagement. Simply switch on the subtitles and start watching your favorite shows and movies while reading along in another language. Even better, switch it up and explore foreign films and classics from other countries to learn authentic content from native speakers. If you’re not sure where to start, log on to Mango Premiere (or find a library near you that offers Mango Languages!) and choose from our catalog of foreign films — they’re fully interactive and developed with language-learning movie buffs like you in mind.
4. Translate your daily blogs and news
Are you a news junkie? Do you have a long list of favorite blogs saved in your browser that you visit daily? We’re right there with you. But in today’s modern world, your daily reading can now double as a language-learning opportunity. Use Google Translate to turn a bookmarked article into a quick language exercise, or opt for a native news source and put your skills to the test in understanding the content. Then, simply use a translating tool to score your accuracy. Whether you’re reading up on foreign affairs or keeping up with the Kardashians (we won’t tell!), your daily clicks are a learning opportunity just waiting to be seized.
5. Switch the language of your social media.
We all know that social media is taking the world by storm. In fact, a recent study shows that Americans check social media an average of 17 times a day. Some studies show that we spend up to four hours a day on our smartphones, using various apps and engaging on social media platforms. For most of us, it’s safe to say we don’t clock numbers anywhere near that when language learning. So, why not put your time on Facebook and Twitter to good use and navigate them in a new language? While changing your language settings won’t change the content of your friends’ posts (for better or worse!), you’ll see authentic prompts and directions from the apps in another language. For good measure, we recommend you follow prominent followers and brands in your target language. Fill your newsfeed with pictures, updates, and news in another language and soon you’ll be caught up on their latest happenings in pop culture and politics – and you’ll learn the vocab and phrases you need to discuss it.
Ready to boost your language learning with these tech-savvy tips? Switch over your settings and watch the language-learning sparks fly. Add even more authentic content to your life by using Mango Languages’ methodology for your language learning. We use real-life conversations and native speakers to bring you relevant, useful information you can use.
If you’re new to Mango, click the button below to try learning another language for free. Or, drop us a line to learn more about bringing Mango to your school, work, or home. And if you’re reading this blog in another language, well done — the student has become the master.