We language learning enthusiasts can turn the most mundane, dull items into shiny, valuable objects of curiosity and enrichment – much like cats and dogs frequently manage. It’s a very special gift we have.
I’m not saying we can play for hours on end with a cardboard box or some wrapping paper. I’m talking about the mundanity of digital life, particularly those parts of it which normally leave us a little fuming.
Take electronic newsletters. Yes, those all-too-frequent, clog-up-your-inbox ad mail-shots from companies, websites and other organisations you (usually) provided with your email address in weaker moments. If your inbox resembles mine in any way, you probably have more of this automated, targeted (but totally solicited) junk than emails from actual human beings.
Predictably, when I get these in English, my reaction usually ranges from blasé curiosity and a quick skim through, to mild annoyance and immediate deletion.
But add a foreign language to the mix, and they’re magically transformed. They’re now language learning resources ™️! <cue amazed oohs and aahs>
From the Mundane to the Sublime
It’s a magic trick that can add appeal to the most prosaic of inbox items. This week, I found myself transfixed by an email ad for branded pots and pans from my favourite Greek TV chef, Akis. Do I have any interest in cooking? That’s debatable. But is it a whole lot of geekish fun learning words for specialist kitchen utensils in Greek? You bet.
If you’re looking to find the value in the e-marketing chaff, it’s easy enough to seek out these kind of target language bulletins nowadays. Call up the websites of your favourite brands or personalities, add your details, and click submit. Instant brand servitude with a dash of language learning thrown in. A bit of pop culture surfing doesn’t hurt, either.
But just to avoid over-gorging on that language learning feast and passing out from junkbox marketing fatigue, consider using email rules to siphon them off to a special folder (or even a dedicated email just for target language newsletter clutter). It’s an enthusiasm-saver if you end up signing up for a couple too many. And we’ve all had too much at the buffet before, after all.