So as I’m browsing through all my favorite travel blogs and blogs about language learning, I see a lot of good advice on how to get along better wherever you are. There are language learning apps (Hello, Duolingo among others) and tips on how to study from notecards, workbooks and such. Bulk up your vocab, learn key phrases, buckle down on that grammar.
All those things are great. You can find online language buddies to write to or to Skype with. People that are trying to learn the same language or are native to your goal language and are trying to learn your native tongue are all great friends to have.
Personally, I’m a weird introvert/extrovert mix. I love talking to people in other languages and from other cultures but I don’t do well with struggling in front of people. Learning something new in a conversation is great, I do love that. I’m just not a fan of people seeing me in the beginning stages of the learning process though. Call me crazy (it’s true, after all) but I’d much rather stumble over something publicly at 65% fluency than 5% fluency.
Thank goodness for YouTube. You can get faux personal contact with natives and expats living abroad. A video on Japanese slang is actually what turned me onto wanting to learn Japanese originally (yet still no idea how I found that video in the first place).
With a couple good searches you can find natives that can show you insights to their languages or advice from expats on what they found difficult while learning the language of their new home. All my thrift store haul video subscriptions are in French now. I have multiple subscriptions to expats in Japan that do videos in both English and Japanese. I even have a German parkour nomad that is learning Japanese and traveling all around the world for work. Now I just need to figure out what kind of Norwegian videos are going to get added to my list.
I’ve found that you can dip your toe or full on immerse yourself in the languages you are learning if you just find the right Youtube channels to follow. They show you real life situations and give you “insider” information that have everything to do with your new language without the semi-awkward “uhhh como se dice/comment dites-vous/何???” interactions that haunt my nightmares. I’m fine if most of the conversation is in the other language with small gaps here and there but asking how to say full sentences feels like I showed up to school with no pants. I can’t. You probably shouldn’t either.
Adding YouTube to supplement your language learning apps/workbooks and good study habits would have to be one of my biggest tips to learning a new language. So go on, get on it. I’m going to do the same. Norwegian YouTube, look out, cause here I come!
Until we meet again,