Lucy from Britain, shares her native English with the world via her channel on YouTube called English With Lucy. In numerous videos, she offers tips and comparisons such as „American vs British Expressions and Phrases” and „5 Things Native English Speakers Never Say!”. However, I found her video „5 Things You Need to Practice Every Day” to be extremely useful and informative for anyone learning a foreign language. Here are the 5 things Lucy wants you to practice every day:
1. Follow an audio soap-opera (15 mins)
In her video, she describes a specific audio-only soap-opera that offers 15 minute episodes. While short, audio-only stories are ideal for listening practice, not every language will offer this. You may need to find other options. While learning Polish, for example, I began watching a popular TV serial called Przyjaciółki that hasn’t been translated into English at all. The main priority is to find a story interesting to you that follows the lives of the same characters over a long period of time. In this way, you will develop context for future events and actions involving those characters.
2. Participate in a language exchange (1-2 hours per day)
Lucy suggests that you find someone who is learning your native language who is a native speaker of the language you want to learn and that you should exchange with them. This is also called Language Tandem. Sometimes it can be hard to organically meet such a person so there are online services that will help you find a partner. The goal here is to spend an equal amount of time speaking in each language that you want to exchange, the one you are learning and the one you are sharing.
3. Daily word goal (x-words per day)
In order to improve your vocabulary in your target language, you must consistently strive to learn new words. You can set a goal of learning a specific number of words such as 10 per day. Or you could meet this goal through the use of topics or themes such as learning vocabulary related to Travel, Economics or History. Another way to approach this goal would be to target words in grammatical categories such as Adjectives, Nouns or Verbs.
4. Daily planner (x-sentences per day)
Get yourself a dedicated yearly planner where you can write a short journal entry each day. Use the new vocabulary that you learn each day to write a few sentences. Having a planner solely for foreign language learning will help you stay on track of your daily goals and will allow you to see the progress that you make.
5. Daily translation [x-paragraph(s) per day]
Choose any written format (news article, book, magazine, advertisement, letter, etc.) and translate it. Lucy recommends that you choose a subject or topic that is interesting to you and that you may like to speak about. Once you have passed the basic beginner level, it would be good to set yourself the target of translating at least one paragraph per day. Then you could work up to translating one page per day. The focus for this task is to read and translate into your own words. A pro tip is to stick to the same topic for a week and record each new word/phrase you learn. Review daily.
As you can see by the highlighted words throughout these tips, they are designed to give you daily practice in each major aspect of language fluency which include a foundation of Vocabulary in order to Read, Write, Listen and Speak the target language. Even if you can only manage to implement these tips a few times per week, you would be well on your way to foreign language proficiency. You can do it!