Post-it® Heaven!

This one is nice and simple. It works on the principle of learning language that’s around you first, because you encounter it everyday, making it memorable.

Level: Beginner

What you’ll need: loads of Post-it® notes, a pen and a Lang-8 account/native speaker

1) Walk around the house and think about the simple, menial things you do everyday at home: look in the mirror, brush your teeth, open the door etc.

2) Pick a handful of them and write down phrases (in your native language) based on the action that you do. Note: we’re not looking for single words here. We need complete phrases with the verb and noun together: mirror look in the mirror. You could stretch it even further by writing a complete sentence: I’m looking in the mirror.

3) Translate them into your target language and have the phrases checked by a native speaker or on website Lang-8.

4) Transfer them onto Post-it® notes and stick them in the place that they describe

5) Get on with your life and integrate the language into your routine. Every time you look in the mirror, say the phrase that goes with it.

6) When you know them really well, replace the notes with English ones. Then test yourself each time you see it: “How do you say ‘look in the mirror’?

This is what’s currently in my flat. Prizes for guessing what they mean!

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  • Kieran Maynard

    Cool idea! This is another one of your ideas I’m going to try. You’ve hit on something I’ve been thinking about, which is basically that words and phrases associated with your daily life are exponentially more valuable than words for things far away from you.

    • I think you’re right. One of the first things I learnt in Japan was the train announcements on the Seibu line. Not easy language, and very formal, but just by hearing them every day and needing to understand them (if I had any interest in getting home!), they sunk in quickly. Much quicker than all the boring stuff in my textbook that had no meaning for me!