Wednesday, 17 Jul 2024

Practice Hack: Change Your Phone’s Language and Level Up Your Learning

If you’re an intermediate or advanced language learner looking for a new challenge, consider changing the language of your smartphone! It’s a simple yet effective way to enhance your vocabulary and make language learning a part of your daily routine. In this article, we’ll explore how changing your phone’s language can help you improve your language skills and provide some useful tips along the way.

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Learn Words About Technology and Social Media

One of the benefits of changing your phone’s language is that you can learn relevant vocabulary without much effort. Since you’re already familiar with the buttons and options in your favorite apps, seeing navigation menus in the language you’re studying can be a great next step. You’ll quickly learn words related to email, searches, drafts, social media interactions, and more!

On the left, the Gmail menu is expanded to show all folders in Spanish. On the right, an Instagram feed shows a post from Duolingo.

Get Practice (and Help!) Writing in the Language

Changing your phone’s language affects the predictive text you see when texting, writing emails, or social posts, as well as searching in apps and on Google. This feature not only helps you correct spelling mistakes but also provides suggestions for the next words you may type. It’s like having your own language assistant, making it easier to write and search in the language you’re learning.

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On the left, Cindy is composing a tweet in Spanish. The iPhone interface suggests words in Spanish to fill out her tweet. The UI is all in Spanish. On the right, Cindy is texting a friend and the iPhone suggests words in Spanish to fill out her text.

Build Up Vocabulary About Your Favorite Topics

Changing your phone’s language also affects your favorite apps. You’ll start seeing translations of words, ideas, and information you’re already interested in. For example, music lovers will discover new vocabulary about music and genres in apps like Spotify. Additionally, you can use various apps to practice your language skills, like searching for new music in the language you’re learning.

Screenshots of an iPhone screen on the Spotify app. Playlists and general homepage are in Spanish.

Use Your Daily Routine for Listening Practice

You can easily incorporate language practice into your daily routine using your smartphone. For example, you can listen to directions in the language you’re learning using your favorite map app. Start by using this technique in familiar places, gradually expanding to new locations. You can also listen to directions while using public transportation, allowing you to focus on comprehension while someone else takes care of navigating.

On the left, a screenshot of a map with the search bar saying "comida de haiti." The map is in Spanish. On the right, a list of directions to a place in the Google Maps UI - all instructions are in Spanish.

Get Your Own (AI) Speaking Partner

If your phone has a digital assistant like Siri, you can change its language to further enhance your language learning experience. You can choose to have both your phone and its assistant in the new language or just one of the two. This feature allows you to practice conversation, gather information on the go, and even have some fun with digital easter eggs. It’s a low-pressure context that provides valuable real-world language practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can changing my phone’s language benefit my language learning?

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Changing your phone’s language exposes you to the language you’re learning in everyday situations, making it easier to practice and internalize new vocabulary.

Q: Will changing my phone’s language affect other apps on my phone?

Yes, changing your phone’s language will affect most of the apps on your device, allowing you to see translations and learn new words related to your favorite topics.

Q: How can I change my phone’s language back to my native language?

On iOS, go to Settings > General > Language & Region > iPhone Language and select your desired language. On Android, go to Settings > System > Language > Language and choose your preferred language.


Incorporating language learning into your daily routine is essential for making progress. Changing your phone’s language is a simple and effective way to immerse yourself in the language you’re studying. By integrating learning with your regular habits, you can stay motivated, learn a little bit every day, and make significant progress in your language journey. So why not give it a try and see how changing your phone’s language can level up your learning!

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