Studying languages is about far more than just learning vocabulary lists and perfecting your grammar. So it should go without saying that learning can happen in a variety of ways as well. Whether you are studying by yourself or with a tutor, there are all sorts of ways to incorporate language learning into your day. That includes most of the things you already do online! Not sure where to start? Here are some ways you can use social media for studying languages.
Starting out small
Whether you spend your day scrolling through Facebook or are curating aesthetic boards on Pinterest, your journey to language learning can start in the simplest of ways. The most popular social media platforms now support users in a variety of languages. Choose your target language in your account settings, and you have an instant language lesson! The great thing about trying this with social media is that you already know the terminology associated with the platform. To use Pinterest as an example, you already know the word for search; seeing rechercher in the search bar instead as a French learner is a small step for learning. You will soon see that épingles means pins, and that tableau is used in place of board. These are small steps, and with limited vocabulary, but putting your target language onscreen on platforms you use a lot is a great way to absorb language without feeling too overwhelmed.
Twitter is a treasure trove for language learners for many reasons, though its Trending feature might be one of the most useful. Under explore settings you will find explore locations; pick a country that uses your target language and see what is trending there. Why is this helpful? Well, even if you aren’t confident enough yet to read large pieces of text in your target language, the hashtags alone provide a mini lesson. Click on one of the trends and you’ll have thousands of Tweets about a particular subject, short pieces of text that you can work with as you learn. A language lesson doesn’t have to be an hour of hard study, it can be as simple as keeping up to date with whatever is trending on a particular day!
Follow your interests
You might be an avid photographer. You could love arts and crafts. Maybe you’re a fan of all things steampunk. Well, why not delve into those interests at the same time as learning a language? Using photography as an example, research photographers who speak your target language. Look up keywords for photography in that language, search for online exhibitions, see what accounts Instagram and Twitter suggest for you; just keep looking! Social media can both help you find this information and help you study along the way. We all know that social media is a rabbit hole once you start scrolling; why not use that to your advantage?
Opening up the world of study with what you already love
There is another way of using social media as a language learning tool that really, might not feel like much effort at all. Let’s say you enjoy a particular genre of music. Look up bands and artists of that genre who sing in your target language, then go on to social media. You could follow their Twitter or Instagram and have short videos as well as their Tweets and Posts to expose you to that target language. You will probably find lyric videos, interviews, and even photoshoots with text that you can practice the language in. What easier way is there to learn than by doing it with something you already love?
The same is true for film and TV shows. You could search for something new to watch, or look for social media accounts from countries who speak your target language and watch the same things as you. As well as behind the scenes sneak peeks, cast interviews, and all the publicity you would expect on social media, you could connect with other fans, find links to podcasts or Discord servers, or just about anything at all. Social media can provide the gateway to interacting with other fans, both to celebrate the things you love, and to give you the opportunity to practice the language you are learning.
In short, get creative with your language studies by putting social media to work. Today you might be struggling to memorise a vocabulary list, but tomorrow you could be discovering new art! What are you waiting for?