Language Learning Strategies for Introverts That Work For Everyone

Introverts and extroverts don’t experience the world in the same way. While extroverted people generally draw their energy from time spent with other people, introverts need some alone time to re-energize and re-charge; however but recent studies have found that there is a spectrum. Most people are ambiverts: a little extroverted and a little introverted.

When it comes to language learning, we introverts and ambiverts need to manage our energy, know our limits, and utilize our strengths. Next to language immersion, speaking your target language from the beginning is the most important thing to do to become fluent in any language.  

Here are some tips to get you speaking whether you’re an introvert, ambivert, or even an extrovert.

One-on-one time

If you’re like many introverts, you’d prefer having a deep one-on-one conversation over participating in group conversations. This fulfills our desire to connect without having to be concerned about large events, small talk, and group dynamics.

Find a language partner or teacher.

Meetup, Couchsurfing, iTalki, and even Facebook have a variety of groups from which you can find a conversation partner or teacher, both online and locally. You can speak your way to fluency from the comfort of your home.

Plan your social interactions

Introverts don’t necessarily dislike spending time with people; we just need alone time to recharge. Social interactions can be draining, even if we’re enjoying ourselves.

To work around this problem, control the amount of time you’re planning to participate in an event. Go to get-togethers with a defined end time. Leave a meetup at a predetermined earlier time. Go to an event with a language-learning friend and spend time talking with her.

While it is important to go outside of your comfort zone, it’s equally as essential to proactively care for yourself in the process. Take time to recharge.

Reading and writing

Writing is often overlooked as a skill worthy of actively improving. Channel your inner Gabriel García Marquez and write in your target language. Search for forums, blogs, Facebook groups in the language you wish to learn. Not only will you be able to participate in conversations, but you’ll be incorporating the language into a normal part of your life.

Printed materials use a wider lexicon than what is utilized in day-to-day conversations, dive into books, newspapers, and magazines regularly. You can even start with children’s books. You’ll improve your vocabulary to a far greater level than is possible by just talking with others.

Talk to yourself

We spend a lot of time thinking and ruminating on a regular basis. Try forming those thoughts in your target language, either aloud or in your mind. Writing down things you want to say and checking for accuracy will help you learn them. Keep them in your phone or a small notebook to review and refresh your memory when you need to. Bring it to your meetup or when you travel like your own personal phrasebook. Having a script to fall back on can help you get the words out and you might even find you need it less than you think.  Reading printed materials aloud will also help you to practice and improve your pronunciation in your foreign language.

Focus on your strengths

Introverts tend to listen more than speak, our minds pick up more passive vocabulary, greatly increasing our lexicon. Our preference to recharge alone also means that we have more opportunities to fine-tune our language skills to prepare for the next meetup.

Although we may not wish to spend hours chatting away, many of our strengths as introverts do give us an advantage in reaching our language goals.

Author: Revé Fisher


  1. Pedro

    Can you please give me some ideas and / or hints on how best to incorporate Yabla into my Spanish High School classes? Our principal was kind enough to purchase a subscription to Yabla for me, but now I am at a loss on how best to incorporate this into my classes. Can you please provide some direction, perhaps others are using this tool to its full potential, and if I could get some ideas from others on how they are incorporating this into their classes that would be great! ¡Gracia de antemano!

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