Why Kindle Unlimited is my (current) favourite language learning tool

Hi, guys! Hope your Mondays went well! I spent mine exploring London (I just moved here yesterday) and applying for a bunch of jobs, so it’s been… productive.

Okay, so the post. I spent today mulling over what I could write about – what with the move and everything, I didn’t get much done at the weekend or last week – and then it struck me: I just decided to pay for Kindle Unlimited after enjoying a free trial, and in my opinion, it’s great for language learning.

A Quick Caveat…

Obviously, for many people, their main aim with language learning is to gain the ability to speak at a certain level. Reading isn’t important for everyone and I do agree that if you learn to speak and have a basic reading competence, then you can get almost anything done in your target language.

However, we all know that I love reading and I am definitely one of the people who places more emphasis on that than on speaking – especially now that I’m going back to university. Therefore, this post is going to help you if that’s a skill you want to learn or improve upon. If you’re just interested in learning to speak, then you’ll maybe want to go somewhere else. Try this post, or this one. They’re both fun. 😉

What is Kindle Unlimited?

kindle-unlimited

Okay, so first things first, what am I even talking about?

For those of you who don’t know: Kindle Unlimited is a subscription-based programme from Amazon. You pay £7.99 a month (or €9.99) and then you have access to all the books within that programme – including, for example, the Harry Potter series. You can have up to ten of these books at a time; it works a little like a library in that you don’t own the books, though if you like one, you could always buy it.

The reason I like Kindle Unlimited more than my actual (free) local library for e-books is two-fold: one, Kindle Unlimited has a better selection of e-books, and two, I don’t have to wait for anyone else to return a book I want. (For physical paperback books, I still hit up my library, though not as often as I used to.)

What’s this got to do with language learning?

I got a gift voucher when I left Austria, from my colleagues – an Amazon gift voucher, to be precise. The fun way that Amazon works meant that I had to activate my .co.uk account as a .de account to spend the money and, because I wanted to spend it on Kindle books, I had to change my country.

While I was doing that, I had a little poke around at Kindle Unlimited and realised I could do a 30-day trial. Great, I thought, and set it up.

It was amazing. A little difficult to navigate at first, but because I was on the .de site, I suddenly had access to all these German books. I could look at the bestseller lists for books that German speakers were actually buying (as opposed to the foreign language books in the .co.uk store, which have more books aimed at learners as bestsellers) and choose things that a native speaker would enjoy. (And they weren’t costing as much as German e-books usually do…)

So, I had access to all these German books for free. So what?

Well, there are plenty of other countries and authors involved in Kindle Unlimited, too. Using Harry Potter as an example, you can get all seven books in German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Swedish, Japanese (!), Dutch, and Danish.

Alright, but you don’t want to read Harry Potter. What then?

Well, you can try typing (language) edition in and seeing what comes up. (These are the results when I type in French edition, as an example.) You can also look through the bestseller lists for a particular category. (Here’s the French bestseller list, too.)

However, the easiest way by far (unless you want the things geared towards language-learners, which are especially helpful if you don’t feel up to a full novel yet) is to go onto a country-specific website and search there. When you find a book you like the look of, you can borrow it from your regular Amazon site.

If you’ve been looking for a cheap and easy way to read books in your target language, then this is a route I would highly recommend. It’s one of the few expenses I’ve allowed myself in the past few months because I know it’s going to be helpful in the long term.

Let me know if you’ve tried out Kindle Unlimited – or any other subscription-based service that helps you with your language learning. I’d love something similar for TV/films (Netflix doesn’t have as many languages as I’d like), so if you have recommendations, throw them my way!

My Top 10 Twitter Accounts for Learning German

Hey, guys! So if you’ve been reading any of my New Year’s Challenge update posts, you might have noticed me asking for recommendations of Twitter or Instagram accounts that either teach you or use Japanese regularly.

The reason for this is very simple: I spend a lot of time on these apps. And I do mean the apps; I use Twitter on my computer too, but not as often as I go through it on my phone (even when I’m sitting at the computer!). Plus, there’s only so much you can put in a tweet or an Instagram caption, so it means you get a kind of bite-sized piece of learning (usually explaining one word, phrase, or small grammar feature), so it’s something you can check throughout the day, knowing that you’re not going to be spending too long on it.

With that in mind, I thought I’d put together this post – because I follow a lot of people on Twitter and a lot of those are for language learning. If you’re learning German, these accounts may come in handy for you, if you don’t already know about them of course! 🙂

My Top 10 Twitter Accounts for Learning German | 学习Sprachen

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5 Ways to Beat Loneliness as a Solo Language Learner

Hi guys! So the idea for this post came to me last week, when I took part in a languages-related Twitter chat for the very first time. The chat was hosted by Lindsay (from Lindsay Does Languages) and we were talking about self study vs. classes. You can read the round up here.

Basically, one of the points that someone (not me) made was that self study can get very lonely – and that’s true. But I think that, especially with the Internet, there’s plenty of ways to connect with other people and beat that loneliness, so I thought I’d share my five favourite ways to do that with you today.

5 ways to beat loneliness as a solo language learner

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How I Keep a Language Notebook

Hi guys! So back in August I read this awesome post from Kerstin over on Fluent Language titled The Miraculous Benefits of Keeping a Language Notebook. I highly recommend you go there and have a quick read if you haven’t already.

You’re back? Good. So after I read this post, it made me think about the way in which I keep a language notebook. I’ve always kept paper notes when I study, but since February I’ve been using specific notebooks for all of my language learning, which is somewhat different to how I’ve done it in the past. When I first started this, I googled a lot of variants of the phrase ‘how to keep a language notebook’ but there’s really not a lot out there about it, and while I know that you should do whatever method works best for you, I wasn’t really sure where to start. (I do sometimes like a clear path.) So, I thought that I’d share my language notebook(s) and my process of finding one and setting it up with you today – and hopefully it’ll give you a few ideas about keeping your own! (I hope you’re all settled in for a fairly long post from here on out…)

How I Keep a Language Notebook

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GCSE German #002: 5 Ways to Beat Procrastination (And Keep Yourself On Track!)

Well, it’s Monday again! Everyone had a good day at work/school/wherever? Yes? Good.

So today we go onto the second post in my GCSE German series…

5 Ways to Beat Procrastination!

GCSE German 002

This post is going to be a little more general than the ones I plan on writing in the future, because let’s face it, if you’re doing your GCSEs, it’s only two weeks since you were on your summer holiday aaaand because I think this is a really good place to start.

Let me just talk about me and procrastination for a second: I am a chronic procrastinator. Case in point: I spent all of my final year of uni working hard (procrastinating harder) and kept promising myself ‘this summer I’ll study so many languages’, ‘this summer I’ll read so many books’, ‘this summer I’ll start writing again’… What happened when the summer came around? Nothing. I went to work, I came home, I lounged around and watched Netflix. It’s an easy cycle to drop into – and it’s even easier when it’s not stuff you really want to do.

So, here’s a few methods I’ve found that work for me. Continue reading “GCSE German #002: 5 Ways to Beat Procrastination (And Keep Yourself On Track!)”