Tips for Learning a Language You Don’t Like

Some language experts believe that tackling a language you’re not passionate about is just a waste of time. If you don’t like the language, you’re less likely to be motivated to not only study, but to also try putting it to use out in the real world. Sometimes though, the need to know a language can outweigh your personal feelings towards it, and if you’re reading this, you may be struggling with just that: needing to learn a language that you don’t particularly like. If that’s the case, you’re definitely not alone! Read on for some great tips on how to learn a language you don’t like and still succeed at it.


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Get creative

The biggest pitfall you will probably have to avoid in this sort of situation is losing motivation or giving in to the tendency to procrastinate on your language practice. The best way to maneuver around this is to make learning whatever language it is exciting and interesting! Instead of relying on textbooks (which might only bore you to tears and heighten your dislike for the language), use online resources to keep the learning process fresh.

This can mean finding a news site in your target language where you can get your daily dose of what’s going on in the world, finding catchy music and funny videos on YouTube, or looking up interesting people on Twitter—whether they be athletes, politicians, or actors who speak your target tongue—and following them. These options all offer small, fun doses of the language you’re learning and keep you from feeling bogged down with the ‘standard’ learning methods.

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Make a friend

Some people don’t like having to learn the ins and outs of a language, but find the idea of actually using the language a lot more appealing. Who hasn’t imagined themselves carrying out a fluent conversation in Italian, or chatting up a local in Brazil? If learning is what’s unappealing to you, then jump straight into using by getting a pen pal or language exchange partner! This is a casual (and fun) way to improve your language skills inside a controlled environment where you don’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself. A pen pal or exchange partner can also teach you current language terminology and help you to learn how to speak on a variety of topics. Remember though, language exchange goes both ways, so be sure to come prepared to help your new language friend with their English too!

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Find a tutor

It might be tempting to scrimp on paying for a tutor if you’re not that invested in learning a language, but you won’t get very far without one! Like with anything, you pay for what you get, so it’s always better to invest in a teacher who has experience and is flexible and willing to cater his or her lessons to your personal learning needs. A good instructor can make a world of difference in language acquisition, and they will always want to know why you’re learning your target tongue. Once you explain that you need it but don’t particularly like it, an excellent tutor should be able to mold their lessons to suit your particular demands. The best part is, they can make the learning process fun!

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Use your senses

Instead of dulling your senses with piles of vocab flashcards, how about bringing them alive in new and exciting ways? The problem with sitting down and studying a grammar book is that there’s nothing very memorable about it so the language knowledge doesn’t tend to stick. When you truly engage our senses, you make the experience enjoyable and easier to remember—which translates to new language acumen you’re less likely to forget! Engaging your senses is incredibly simple: watch a movie, or listen to music, or find an online cooking class in your target language.

All these are great ways to get invest not only in the language itself, but in the culture, people, and way of life that form a part of it. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn, and who knows, maybe you’ll come away loving the language after all!

Have you ever learned a language you don’t like? How did you do it? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments section below!