We are in a very scary, uncertain situation right now. I do not need to sit here and tell you all about COVID-19 and the impact it is having around the world, however, I want to bring some aspects of language learning to your attention and talk a little bit about what I am doing, personally, to keep up my language learning habits. Do you want to better your level in a language? Are you ready to get productive? Let’s get started!

For the most part, the majority of us should be remaining indoors. Look, it’s not ideal, I know. However, we must do everything we can and make any required sacrifices to slow down the increase of COVID-19 cases across the globe. With this increase in time, all of our previous ‘language learning excuses’ can be thrown out the window. I know that in my case I have had an increase in the amount of time I have available to learn languages. Naturally I am a busy person, but due to Coronavirus, a positive aspect is that I have more time to further my knowledge of Italian and Russian. In the UK, universities and schools across the country are shut, along with many workplaces. Because of this, the average person will more than likely be in self-solation. I always look for the positives in a situation and honestly, while there are very few, I will be happy to better my Italian and Russian over the coming weeks. Duolingo has reported that the company has seen an increase in the quantity of users since the Coronavirus outbreak. Why? The simplest reason is that with so many parents unable to speak their child’s second language (in terms of what they learn at school), many parents and careers will be adopting new measures to ensure that their children still learn a foreign language. My siblings are currently being home schooled and the likes of Linguascope, Duolingo and YouTube are proving to help. As a tutor, I am able to help them with their school languages of French and German by working through worksheets and PowerPoints but anything that appears remotely interesting to them, like Duolingo, is of great help! As I have made clear, this will be a great opportunity for language learning firms to increase sales and offer support to learners of all kinds. The reality is that we will be bored quite frequently. So, let’s turn this boredom into productivity!

I have made a list of activities I want to carry out while in self-isolation. I have lists of films I want to watch (in numerous languages), books I want to read and languages that I want to learn. I am doing this to obviously pass the time, but also to keep my mind active. I simply refuse to be unproductive as I can’t help but see this as an opportunity. Firstly, I am dedicating two hours a day to learning Italian. Italian is my current target language that I would like to improve. Therefore, I am continuing working through any online videos, textbooks and courses in order to boost my vocabulary and command of the language. I am also dedicating an hour to Russian. I have more command over the Russian language than I do Italian so I will be dedicating less time to Russian. While I do have a lot of time, I am also actively home schooling my two younger siblings which will consume time. I am also keeping busy by increasing how often I tutor. The demand for tutoring has spiked, as I had imagined many weeks prior. I still feel as though I am being social as I talk to at least five people online a day when I am tutoring, and I often have Skype conversations with friends and family across the country. I have been astonished by the generosity being provided over the last few weeks and months. Many individuals are offering help in one’s target language free of charge as they understand we are all in a bad situation. In my case, I will be having regular conversations in Italian with hopes of gaining more confidence and ability. 

Keeping motivated and positive is a very important thing right now. At first it may seem like a novelty being able to work in one’s pyjamas or ‘go to school in pyjamas’, but little things like getting dressed and eating at regular intervals are extremely important. While the majority of us are home, the world needs to move on and keep up, so keeping motivated and staying fit are fantastic. Now that I can’t go out running as much, I will be carrying out regular exercise at home which is a great way to start the day. In terms of literature, I am reading, ‘Au Revoir, Les Enfants’ by Louis Malle which will allow me to have regular contact with French. I will extend my reading list day by day and my aim is to be as productive as possible. 

I aim to start my day by 9am. I shower, get changed and eat breakfast before starting some work. I aim to study throughout most of the morning and afternoon before tutoring in the evening. I then aim to get to bed reasonably early. This routine keeps my mind clear and productive. 

Humanity has been impressing me, and in some cases making me extremely mad but we must make the most of what we have. We have the ability to save our planet by being at home. Those of us who can, please stay home and work on something you have always wanted to do or learn. I am happy to share the resources I use to learn certain languages so please feel free to get in touch with me. Start a language from scratch, continue to study your target language, do what you must. I am wishing every single reader all the best and if there is anything I can do to assist, please let me know and I will try my best to help you! Below this article, I will be sharing links to resources that you can use to study a language. 

All the best,

Lee Morrow  


Duolingo: https://www.duolingo.com/learn

Memrise: https://www.memrise.com

Easy Languages: https://www.easy-languages.org

Lawless French: https://www.lawlessfrench.com

Lawless Spanish: https://www.lawlessfrench.com

italki: https://www.italki.com/

Busuu: https://www.busuu.com

Tandem: https://www.tandem.net

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