Is Language Learning Considered A Hobby?

Most of us are so used to learning languages for school or for work that we see language learning more like a chore, something we have to do, rather than a fun and relaxing activity.

But is language learning considered a hobby?

*cover photo translation, More love, please.

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By Julia Solovieva – Language teacher with more than 10 years of experience in teaching English as a second language. You can follow her on FB on Random English.

In this article, we will take a quick look at what a hobby is and discuss if language learning can be considered one.

At the end of the article, you will also find a few tips on how to make language learning more enjoyable.

What is a hobby?

The definition of a hobby is quite simple. Here are a couple of examples.

Collins Dictionary, “A hobby is an activity that you enjoy doing in your spare time.”

Cambridge Dictionary, “An activity that someone does for pleasure when they are not working.”

Notice the two common elements here: pleasure/enjoy doing, spare time/not working.

According to these definitions, anything that you enjoy doing and that is not work can be considered a hobby.

Is language learning considered a hobby? 

If you enjoy language learning and do it in your free time then it fits the definition of a hobby.

However, many people don’t see language learning as something relaxing and enjoyable.

They often do it to achieve a goal: to pass an exam at school or to get a promotion at work.

Language learning is seen as a means to an end, not an activity that you enjoy just for itself.

The thing is, the idea of a hobby is quite subjective. If you consider language learning your hobby – then it is a hobby.

But there is also nothing wrong with a more pragmatic approach to language learning. 

Nevertheless, it may actually be quite beneficial to treat language learning as a hobby.

Research shows that children and adults alike learn faster and more effectively when they are enjoying the process. 

Thus, even if you are learning a language just to achieve a particular goal, treating it as more of a hobby and finding ways to enjoy it will actually help you achieve that goal faster.

How to make language learning more fun?

No matter why you are learning your target language, there are always ways to make language learning more fun – and thus actually more effective.

Here are a few tips.

Reconsider your attitude

Seeing language learning as a chore or as a hobby is subjective – and you can try and change your attitude to make it more fun.

If you see language learning as something hard and not really fun, try to think of the reasons for that and whether you can find ways to change it. The tips below may help!

Find a friend

A lot of activities are more fun if you do them with a friend, and language learning is no exception.

By making at least one friend who is also learning or can speak your target language, you will have someone to practice and discuss the language with, as well as someone to support you and cheer you on when going gets hard.

If no one in your friend group is learning the same language, go online!

There are lots of sites and communities for language learners as well as language exchange platforms where you can meet native speakers of your target language for practice.

Entertain yourself

Language learning is not only about textbooks, rules, and rote exercises. Actual studying is important, of course, but you also need practice – and you can practice quite effectively while also getting some entertainment.

Here are some of the things you can do in your target language that can also be very entertaining:

  • Watch movies and TV shows
  • Read books
  • Listen to music
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Read blogs and magazines
  • Read jokes, funny stories, comic strips
  • Watch YouTube videos
  • Follow speakers of your target language on social media

Mix it with other hobbies

To kill two birds with one stone, you can also combine language learning with your other hobbies.

Are you into cooking and learning Italian? Watch cooking videos and find some cookbooks in Italian for double the effect.

Learning English and love watching movies and TV shows? Get a Netflix, HBO, or other subscription for an abundance of movies and shows to watch.

These are just a couple of examples. Think of the hobbies you have – there is probably a way to practice them in your target language and have lots of fun!

Photo: 1983.

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