7 Ways To Learn The Culture Of A Language

Many people struggle with learning languages, or they hear that they need to also learn about the culture as well as the language.

That has always been my favorite part when it comes to learning a language, but I noticed that many people may not know how or where to start with learning about the culture.

You came to just the right place! If you need a break from conjugating French verbs and perfecting the Madrid accent of Spanish, here are some ideas to keep your language studies rich with reminders about the culture of the countries that speak your target language.

Even if you never travel to a French-speaking country, chances are you may meet somebody from a French-speaking country, and it would be a great conversation starter to talk about their culture. Or if you do someday end up going hiking in Argentina, it would be great to know about Argentinian history so that you may understand a certain monument, instead of just knowing how to conjugate a verb.

So without further ado, here are some fun culture ideas!

1. Read a history book.

This is the first step for understanding any culture. You cannot understand a person without knowing their past. Likewise, you cannot understand a culture without knowing the history. I'm not expecting every student of Italian to become an expert in Italian history, but you should know the basics of a country's history and culture before diving into your language.

Is there a topic you are passionate about?

Sports? Maybe find out about some great sports stars from Spanish-speaking countries. Music? Maybe find a great German-speaking musician. Politics? Maybe find a great revolutionary or ruler that France had.

History is a very diverse topic, so the secret to catching on quickly is to find the part you are passionate about. Of course, you should also know a general overview of France or Germany or whatever language you are studying.

2. Eat some food!

Treat yourself to German chocolate if you are studying German, some authentic Korean food if you are studying Korean, or some French crepes if you are studying French.

Food tells you about what grows in the country and is an enjoyable way to think about the culture of the country. For languages such as French or Spanish, which are spoken by many countries in very different parts of the world, it may be fun to divide up the continents with some friends and, for example, have food from Spain made by one person, food from Mexico by another, and food from Ecuador by another, etc.

3. Watch a classic film.

If you know of a classic movie in Arabic, and you are studying Arabic, see if you can find that movie and watch it. Watch it multiple times. At first, watch it to enjoy the story and hopefully learn something about the values that culture holds dear (family, friendship, etc.). The second time, listen for understanding the accents and grammatical structure.

4. Read folk stories.

Children's books and fairy tales tell many interesting things about cultures, including lessons for life such as being brave and being kind. Even better is reading it in the original language since it will introduce you to basic sentences. Folk stories also usually have a bit of history in them that has been exaggerated through the years. All of them contain a lesson that people in the past wanted to pass on to future generations.

5. Enjoy the arts.

I'm not an artist, but I think everybody can appreciate a bit of theater, painting, dance, and opera and enjoy the story it has to tell. When you want a break from grammar, relax and listen to a Broadway soundtrack in English, listen to an Italian opera, watch videos of a Thai dance, or look at a famous Dutch painting. The arts offer wonderful stories in their own way and expose you to another world. As you are watching an Albanian or Georgian sword fight dance, think of the symbolism and enjoy the talents!

6. Look up pictures of scenery.

That is a picture of Angel Falls, for all my Spanish learners and "Up" fans out there. ;)

Are you studying Russian? You could look up pictures on Google Maps of the many different parts of Russia. Or if you are studying Indonesian, it may be fun to read about the unique animals that live there. While this is more focused on the land and nature, it still helps you get a full picture of the country you are learning about by letting you visualize it.

7. Talk to people.

Get to know them and their stories! As you talk, you are exchanging cultures and learning about each other's worlds. You can use this as a chance to practice your language, but if neither of you is up for it, you can stick to one language and just have fun together.

Remember, language learning is a journey in and of itself, and the more you engage in the culture of the language you are learning, the quicker you will learn.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.

NBC

From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments