Cycling is not the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to learning English. Flash cards, computer software, and apps are the clear winners there. But while you visit, cycling around Dublin may be able to teach you a few things no method can.
Coming from countries like France or Spain, the world beyond the channel can be intimidating. If you have only ever learned English in one dialect, understanding anyone using a different dialect will be a real task.
Spending time in Dublin gives English learners the opportunity to interact with people who likely speak much differently than the people heard in the typical British or American English class. In this regard, a three hour cycle tour around Dublin is worth more in practical experience than an English intensive course.
As much as a textbook or smartphone app can teach about a new language, nothing beats blending directly with the culture. Experiencing a language in the culture that speaks it will always create a much better understanding that book learning alone.
On a bike, you can experience more of the culture than is usually possible. Other transportation methods like cars and public buses are largely closed off; each individual sits in their own little world. But travelling a city like Dublin by bike puts you directly into the culture, opening up a world of possibility. A quick ride through the city could find you stopping by a pub to chat with locals. A tour around the park could lead to a conversation with a happy dog owner. A bike opens you up to new adventures at every turn.
Slang and idioms
The differences between the proper speech found in a textbook or language program and the way people actually talk can be… quite substantial. Learning a new language from a book or program doesn’t take into account the way that locals use the language – and for good reason. The way different cultures use language is always shifting, and keeping up is a job in and of itself.
Cycling in Dublin and mingling directly with the people, you are sure to pick up phrases no book will have time to teach. When someone says they’re Lee Marvin and you don’t understand, don’t be scarlet….that is why you are here! Learning the local slang and idioms will ultimately give you a greater understanding of the language itself.
All of these things come together to form the real benefit of learning English by bike: personalized learning. The only way to truly learn a language like English is to make it a part of your life. The more experiences you have in English, the more” English” your brain becomes.
Biking down to the café for breakfast is going to teach you much more that sitting in your hotel room watching the news. Solving everyday problems like how much change to give the cashier flexes the English muscle in the brain just a little bit more. A quick ride to the supermarket gives you the perfect place to test your vocabulary, and the checkout line is a great place to perfect your listening skills.
Creating direct and personal experiences in a new culture is the best way to learn any new language. So, can you learn English by cycling through Dublin? Why not!?
The crew at Bike Hire Dublin may not have fancy teaching degrees, but they are always stocked with bikes and full of good conversation. If you are in the Dublin area, stop by for either anytime.