Posted on by Ulrike Rettig

A "Casual" Language Learner? 3 Ways to Boost Your Progress

There are typical reasons for learning a new language: family/friend, travel, job, research, etc., but the motivation to become fully proficient greatly differs.

If your approach to language learning is "casual," then don't let anyone - including us at G4L - tell you that you "must" practice regularly. You may be the quintessential “dilettante,” who loves learning on his or her own terms. Time may be scarce, or there may just be many other things you also want to do.

This sets you apart from the "steady" language learner, who has a fixed goal in mind and advances toward it step by step. You are also different from the "hardcore" language learner, for whom language learning is a major focus in life.

3 Tips for Casual Language Learners

1) Embrace your image as a language learner "at will."
Be positive, forget about the guilt of not being disciplined. Even small forays into language learning are a good thing! Everything you learn will leave a trace in your brain.

Be reasonable with yourself. It's good to have expectations, but don't make them too high. Expect something "in the middle."

2) Pick a way to learn that syncs with your lifestyle.
If you're on the go a lot, get into mobile learning. If you're a just-before-you-go-to-sleep learner, keep a book or an iPad by your bed.

If you're super social, find Facebook friends to chat with and write your posts in your new language.

3) Add some fun by doing things you really like.
A few foreign language suggestions, starting with activities even a beginner can do:
- Listen to songs
- Research, make, and talk about delicious dishes (lots of sites on the Internet)
- Watch movies, most will have English subtitles (Netflix, Sundance Channel, etc.)
- Read cartoons (Asterix, Tintin, etc.)
- Watch news videos on foreign online newspaper sites
- Listen to audio books
- Play games in your new language (board games, computer games, video games, role playing games

There is no telling where any of these small steps will take you. One thing, however, is certain: You’ll keep the neurons in your brain working and you’ll expand your world view at the same time.