Do you ever use Instagram, Twitter, or other forms of social media in the language you are learning?
Typically, we associate studying a new language with diligent effort, stacks of textbooks, and hours of memorizing vocabulary and learning new grammar points. While it is true that mastering a new language requires hours and hours of effort, and often daily practice to maintain your level, it doesn't always require a 2 hour study session!
I have been studying French for the last couple of years, am always searching for ways to keep myself motivated, and switch up my method of studying. For me, the most important aspect is to enjoy my study time. Well--I've recently found that new, enjoyable way to learn-- Instagram!
What is something you truly enjoy? Rest assured, there is an Instagram following who enjoys the same thing! For me, I LOVE dogs! Recently, I created an Instagram account for my 1-year-old dog, Tofu. Feel free to follow him ( tofulefou ) for some English captions, and wholesome, cute photos/videos!
What I've learned is that I can discover new French hashtags to see what's trending, read short captions with slang words or phrases, and in this way become more familiar with casual French and "text talk". This is something you simply can't get from textbooks--and it goes for learning English, too!
Additionally, I get to feast my eyes on the most adorable pics and videos of all sizes of dogs. However, if dogs aren't your thing, choose something else, such as cars, cats, nail art, architecture, and more--it's all there! The key for me was to combine my target language, with something else I love. You don't even need to make posts, or maintain an account if you don't feel likt it. Why not just browse through some pages?
Incredibly, I've even made connections through messaging with both English and French-speaking dog lovers, and tried my hand at communicating in a low-stakes, casual way through DM (direct messaging), and comments.
Since many of my followers are English-speakers, I make most of my captions in English. However, I've made sure to follow many French accounts, and add French hashtags to my posts. Through reading captions, comments, and more, I've been able to add some new vocabulary, and even slang, to my repertoire. C'est magnifique!
So, if social media is your thing, why not give it a try?
What are some of your favorite things to see on Instagram, Twitter, etc? Post in the comments below! :)
-feast one's eyes on sth: to gaze at something with pleasure
-to try one's hand at something: to attempt or try something new
-low-stakes: a low-risk situation