Passive Method for Language Learning with YouTube

YouTube is a great tool for any kind of learning. For me it’s my go-to lifeline when I want to learn about something whether it be through a product review or a how-to oriented video. It can be used for everything from car repairs to tech reviews.

It’s the practical nature of the platform that I think also makes language learning with YouTube a great method.

There is a lot of YouTube language learning content that’s designed specifically for language learners whether you want to learn Spanish on YouTube or learn German on YouTube, but it has been difficult for me to find channels like this that I thoroughly enjoy. They’re often too static or they’re lacking in depth.

Typically they’re often also more directed towards someone at a lower proficiency level. At a certain stage in the language learning process I prefer learning in a more engaging way.

However, I have found that there is at least one exception to this. YouTube Easy Languages is a great channel that interviews people who are often native speakers of foreign languages.

The YouTube Easy Languages channel might be the best resource when it comes to learning languages with YouTube. Their catalogue covers a wide range of languages that make it a great source for YouTube language learning.

There’s content available for nearly everyone from English learners all the way to rarer languages like Miskito.

Some languages have a huge pool of content. If you want to learn German on YouTube Easy Languages has over 400 videos on a separate YouTube language learning channel called Easy German. This channel alone has over a million subscribers on YouTube.

This is a good time to note that some languages have their own YouTube Easy Languages channel separate from the main one so do a little digging if you can’t find content for your target language initially.

In the case that you want to learn Spanish on YouTube Easy Languages has over 200 videos for Spanish learners. You can essentially take free Spanish lessons on YouTube that offer content with native speakers.

You can find the YouTube Easy Languages channel here.

The way I like to use the majority of my time engaging in language learning with YouTube is maybe different than you might expect. I don’t use it in a proactive manner. It’s a casual tool for me, I typically do YouTube language learning in a passive way.

I have a small collection of Brazilian channels that I watched religiously at various points in time or still do today. Some of the channels I outgrew or lost interest in; others I have enjoyed for more than a year now.

A scene from a YouTube video by Aero Por Trás da Aviação

Aero Por Trás da Aviação is a channel that covers various aviation topics and is produced to the standard of a high-quality television show.

I have a strong interest in aviation and I simply can’t find an English-speaking equivalent to this channel. Language learning with YouTube is a great way to find new information about your interests and hobbies in your target language. I’ve been following this channel for more than a year and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

ComprecarTV is a channel that does full reviews of cars available in Brazil. I started watching this channel to get a sense of different car models in Brazil but quickly noticed the value that it could bring to my language studies.

This channel is my biggest inspiration for writing this article because it best represents the point I’m trying to show. It gets to the nature of what I mean by YouTube language learning being a practical tool for languages and in life. I learned a lot of vocabulary from this channel simply because the purpose of the videos are so clear.

The host is pointing at and opening up various parts of the car and after some time the words for these items become obvious. I learned words like volante (steering wheel), roda (wheel) and para-brisa (windshield) simply by watching and learning about various features of cars.

A snapshot from a car review by ComprecarTV

This is also true for Aero Por Trás da Aviação. After watching a certain amount of content, words like asa (wing) and aeronave (aircraft) became obvious, not to mention the numerous cognates or loanwords that come from or are related to words in English like piloto and cockpit.

You can also find other types of YouTube language learning channels that are useful in unconventional ways. There are some American Youtubers trying to teach Brazilians English who sometimes post the majority of their videos in Portuguese, my favorite of these being a channel called TimExplica.

These YouTube English language learning channels were ironically a great asset for learning Portuguese in the earlier stages of my journey with the language.

They were a huge motivation as I got to learn about how these people learned Portuguese. You get to enjoy the content while listening to a speaker with an accent that likely is easier for you to understand than a native speaker.

Language learning with YouTube can come in a variety of forms. The nature of the platform’s often-direct content makes it a great tool for someone who has made progress in their language proficiency and wants to bring their personal interests into their studies in a casual way.

Nothing is easier than sitting back and watching a YouTube video and this is part of what makes this learning technique great.

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