How To Make Language Learning Fun And Interesting

One of the best ways to kill progress in a language is, of course, to make it boring. And likewise, one of the best ways to keep your interest in a language is to do things with it that are fun and/or interesting. Here are a few fun things I do in Italian.

Social networking

I've already talked about one social network, Badoo, which I find to be a good, general-purpose place to practice your target language. There is, unfortunately, a stigma attached to using that site, since most people seem to use it primarily for dating type of interaction. I've managed to have several fun conversations, and there are plenty of people there who are happy to talk to a foreigner — particularly one taking interest in their language and culture.

But sometimes you just want a nice place to meet people and get accustomed to your target language. And fortunately, these things are easy enough to find in English. Just this past weekend, I searched Google for "popular Italian social network" and after clicking through a few results, I found an article that mentioned "Meemi".

It's a bite-sized status updating thing, similar to Twitter or Tumblr, with the benefit of a Facebook-style ability to comment on everything. But what really makes it cool is that there are active members there who are anxious to welcome you warmly to the site and be your new friends!

There are plenty of people there who speak English, too. In fact, there are members from all over the world. But it's an Italian-based site, and the if you're looking for people with whom to speak, learn, and practice Italian, I can't think of a better place to start!

Blogs and other interesting sites

I've also mentioned blogs already as a great practice tool. (I'm into travel blogs.) But it doesn't have to stop at blogs. You can search for anything relating to your interests.

Just start Googling! First, make sure you've added your target language to your Google preferences. (You have done that, haven't you?) Then type a word for something you're interested in and see what you find! You never know what might pop up. If you like travel, as I do, you can search for "viaggare". If you like cars, search for "macchine". If you like video games, search for "videogiochi".

Start with one, and just browse through the results to see what comes up. After you get bored, try another term. You never know when you're going to discover a hidden subculture of artists or gamers or people who worship cats.


One of the easiest things to search for is "jokes". All you need to do is learn the word for jokes in your target language, and then search for it! In every culture and every language, collections of jokes are common and easy to find.

Jokes are a great way to learn a language, because they're typically told in a common language, and describe common things. They're also a great measure of your progress, because there is a subtlety to humor that requires an understanding of the language. I always start my language year not expecting to understand the jokes, but toward the end of the year, I expect to understand most of them.

I'll leave you with a joke that was recently emailed to me:

A New York è stato appena aperto un nuovo negozio, dove le donne possono scegliere e comprare un marito.

All'entrata sono esposte le istruzioni su come funziona il negozio:

1) Puoi visitare il negozio SOLO UNA VOLTA.
2) Ci sono 6 piani e le caratteristiche degli uomini migliorano salendo.
3) Puoi scegliere qualsiasi uomo ad un piano oppure salire al piano superiore.
4) NON si può ritornare al piano inferiore.

Una donna decide di andare a visitare il Negozio dei Mariti per trovare un compagno.

Al 1° piano l'insegna sulla porta dice:
Questi uomini hanno un lavoro.
La donna decide di salire al piano successivo.

Al 2° piano l'insegna sulla porta dice:
Questi uomini hanno un lavoro e amano i bambini.
La donna decide di salire al piano successivo.

Al 3° piano l'insegna sulla porta dice:
Questi uomini hanno un lavoro, amano i bambini e sono estremamente belli.
Wow pensa la donna, ma decide di salire ancora.

Al 4° piano l'insegna sulla porta dice:
Questi uomini hanno un lavoro, amano i bambini, sono estremamente belli e aiutano nei lavori di casa.

Incredibile esclama la donna, difficilmente posso resistere!
Ma sale ancora.

Al 5° piano l'insegna sulla porta dice:
Questi uomini hanno un lavoro, amano i bambini, sono estremamente belli e aiutano nei lavori di casa e sono estremamente romantici.
La donna è tentata di restare a sceglierne uno, invece decide di salire all'ultimo piano.

6° piano:
Tu sei la visitatrice N° 31.456.012 di questo piano, qui non ci sono uomini, questo piano esiste solamente per dimostrare quanto sia impossibile accontentare una donna.
Grazie di aver scelto il nostro negozio

Di fronte a questo negozio è stato aperto un Negozio delle Mogli.
Al 1° piano ci sono donne che amano far sesso.
Al 2° piano ci sono donne che amano far sesso e non sono rompicoglioni.
I piani da 3° al 6° NON SONO MAI STATI VISITATI.

Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.

Author: Yearlyglot
I'll lead you through a 12 month journey from knowing absolutely nothing about a language to having professional fluency.

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  • Randy Yearlyglot

    Just signed up for badoo and sonico on your recommendation (got your friend request and accepted it, too, btw), I think those are really going to pay off once I get on there and make some effort to find some people to talk to. Thanks for that one, that turned out to be a really solid tip. I would also add that language-exchange sites CAN pay off if you're willing to be persistent and sift the wheat from the chaff--you have to pick the right sites and message maybe 5 or 6 people for every 1 person you get to talk to you via Skype, but it works and is worth it, I've got 3 people right now I'm talking to via Skype about once a week, it's good practice for my Spanish. Once I've had a chance to more thoroughly evaluate them, I'll do a good solid detailed post on language exchange sites, evaluating them and tell you what you need to do to make them work.Cheers,

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    My daughter is trying to learn Italian as well. I was very interested in finding a friend to Skype with her but most of the people on those sites you mentioned are much, much older. Do you have any resources for younger kids?

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    I don't have children, so I don't have direct knowledge of the resources, but I know they exist.One hears all the time about classrooms in America who chat with kids in China, and that sort of thing, so I'm sure that there are ways to facilitate that.On the other hand, social skills work regardless of age -- actually, they work easier for kids -- so you might be able to use age appropriate sites (I don't know how old your daughter is, so you'll have to figure out which sites those are) and just find people from other places and hand out Skype info. Maybe the Lego site, or Crayola, or something kid-friendly on Yahoo?Skype is great for this kind of thing. You have video, so you can verify right away that it's not some creep. And if it is a creep, you can block them. And if you're really paranoid, you can create throw-away Skype accounts for the first meeting.Remember, the best way to find things is to stop searching in English. Take the language that your daughter is learning and search for sites in that language which are appropriate for the age.

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