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  • Writer's pictureCarlie Sitzman MA, CT

5 COVID-Era Language Practice Ideas

Updated: Feb 20, 2021

Sweeping in like an unexpected hurricane, this year has left Sitzman AE Translations curling up in its shell like a slightly bewildered turtle. I have found myself wondering what people need and want during this unprecedented time. How can my skills be of use? Where does my vision of fostering communication between the English-speaking and German-speaking communities fit into the bigger picture? Although demand for translations currently resembles a ride on a bucking bronco, it is abundantly clear that people are using their time in quarantine to become better acquainted with the foreign language of their choice. This is a wonderful development indeed and one that Sitzman AE Translations will be promoting in its coronavirus response. In hopes of fostering international communication and understanding during this pandemic, here are five ways to practice a foreign language without breathing on anyone.

  1. Stream Foreign Films If you’ve been sitting at home in quarantine for a small eternity like I have, you may have noticed a lack of new programming on television. It seems that even the rich and famous are not immune to the threat of coronavirus. Never fear though! Foreign television is here. Not only does watching a foreign television series give you the opportunity to practice your language skills, but it can also open up a world of binge-watching opportunities. With the television footage from two, three, four, or more countries at your fingertips, you will have countless hours of new footage to peruse.

  2. Browse YouTube YouTube can be a fount of information and it is the perfect place to indulge your hobbies in a foreign language. All you have to do is figure out how to properly search your hobby in the language of your choice and you’re off! You can watch everything from five-minute snippets on how to tie your shoes to hour-long documentaries on how to make linguini in the language of your choice – all free of charge. If you are feeling especially daring, you might even try using your foreign language skills to comment on a video. A single comment could spark a fascinating exchange and possibly even help you meet new friends with similar linguistic aspirations and hobbies.

  3. Find a Language Buddy If you can’t go to the country where your language is spoken, why not call up a stranger who lives there and practice with them? Websites such as act as a sort of matching service for aspiring linguists, helping them find the perfect person to practice with. You are generally required to set up a profile displaying your photo, languages, and what you are looking for. After that, you are welcome to peruse the profiles of others or reply to messages from people who have seen yours. The goal is to find a native speaker of the language you are practicing who wants to practice your native language. Once you are connected, you can help each other learn and build a new friendship in the process. All for free!

  4. Socialize Abroad – Without Leaving Your Living Room With COVID-19 running rampant through communities worldwide, traveling to the neighbor’s house is currently just as feasible as flying to France. As a result, many people have transferred their social lives online to keep in touch safely. Why not follow your friend Zoom chat with an online meetup in a far-flung region of the world? Take advantage of this golden opportunity spawned by the pandemic to live your social life as if you’ve moved abroad.

  5. Read a Foreign Book With all the extra time being spent at home, you may find yourself consuming the written word much more often. Once you’ve gone through all the books in your collection, try reading a few foreign books. Reading is a great way to practice vocabulary in context and see grammar in action in its natural habitat. Since it is self-paced, reading will also give you time to ponder what you are seeing and really soak it in, making it the perfect way to practice language. Exploring art from other cultures can also increase your cultural awareness and open your eyes to new ways of looking at the world.

Want to learn German? Contact me to set up a class.

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