How to Learn a Language "The Lazy Way"
Is it possible to multitask and make progress in another language?
If you’re looking for an easy way to learn another language, look no further than one of my favorite methods called “The Lazy Way”
My name is Zach Schullian and I’m the founder of LinguaSolo. We’re an online course and community that helps young adults become conversational in a new language from home in just 15-30 minutes a day.
Before I explain what I mean by the “Lazy Way”, you may ask: “Don’t I need to give my full attention and focus when I study a language if I want to make any progress?”
The answer is: Sometimes.
But not always.
To illustrate what's meant by “sometimes”, understand that there are two types of immersion:
- Active: When you give your full, undivided attention to the learning material.
- Passive: (AKA the “The Lazy Way”): When you consume information in another language while multitasking.
While active immersion will give you a higher ROI if you were to compare the two types side by side, passive immersion is crucial because there are many more opportunities to consume content while doing repetitive tasks such as commuting, cleaning or jogging.
And, let's face it—most of us simply don’t have the time or energy to regularly set aside distraction-free time towards learning a new language—even with all the fun digital resources out there.
But props to you if you can!
If your goal is to be able to have natural conversations in your target language, then passive immersion will help you get used to mentally operating in that language.
However, if you’ve just begun learning a language, you’ll want to spend most of your time doing active immersion. Once you get to a high-beginner/low-intermediate level is where you'll start to reap the benefits of regularly using passive immersion.
*From personal experience, once I've gotten past the beginner stages of a language, the amount of resources (TV shows, podcasts, songs, etc.) that I can enjoy AND understand drastically increases…which is super motivating to me!
To give an example of how I currently use passive immersion to study Portuguese (I'm at a high-intermediate level), sometimes when cleaning or driving, I'll put on a short clip of the daily news from Deutsche Welle Brasil (on Spotify) or try and understand the lyrics to my favorite bossa nova songs. Simply spending 10 minutes a day doing these types of activities allows me to make consistent progress. It's especially nice when I don't “feel like” learning.
Every once in a while, I'll come across content in my target language that I really enjoy, whether it's a certain YouTuber, Netflix Series, or book. As a result, I'll spend way more time in my target language than I intended. Positive feedback loops like these make spending time in the language a hobby, not a chore.
Ultimately, don’t be hard on yourself, and remember to have fun. The most successful language learners make sure to enjoy the content they consume.
There's no shame in “The Lazy Way”!
If you want guidance on how to overcome speaking anxiety, find the right learning resources that best suit your individual needs and join a collaborative community of like-minded young adults, reach out to Zach at email@example.com.
College student and life-long language learner who loves music, adventures and experiencing other cultures.