Fri, 01 Dec 2017 12:20:13 +0000Geralde Vincent-BancroftYou’ve been studying your target language for months or years, or you’ve been living in a host country and you’ve reached a respectable level in your second language. You’re back home. Now the 64 million Dollars question is how to keep it up to scratch.
You’ve certainly heard the saying ” He…
You’ve been studying your target language for months or years, or you’ve been living in a host country and you’ve reached a respectable level in your second language. You’re back home. Now the 64 million Dollars question is how to keep it up to scratch.
You’ve certainly heard the saying ” He who does not go forward goes backwards”; and this one ” If you don’t use it, you loose it”.
It is the same in language learning. If you don’t keep practising and use your language regularly, you will be surprised at how much you will not remember of it when you need it the most.
Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way. I studied German at school, and reached level B2. My writing skills were good. I had pen-pals with whom to practice ( this is revealing my age ) and I could write about complex subjects. By that time, I moved from Europe to Latin America. My priorities changed. I dropped my German practice and in less than two years what was left of my knowledge was less than fifty percent.
I Just want to stress that it is vital to keep the language active.
It is often said about languages that the better you learn them from the beginning, the harder it will be to forget. Although I do agree, I have to say that it is only true if you reach an almost native speaker level the first time you learned them. For every other level down, there will be a percentage of regression.
So, the only solution is constant practice.
Try to use your second language regularly.Passive activities can be helpful. If you’ve been following my Blog posts, you will have noticed that I have criticised them as non-effective methods to learn, but here it is different. The knowledge is already there. You are just using them to keep the language fresh in your brain.
Reading books and magazines for fun, watching TV programs and films, reading online Newspapers in your target language, can be proved useful. These will keep your speaking skills active as well as regular conversations with friends from your target country, either in person or via Skype. It will be a natural way to maintain your level and even improve through constant use of your productive knowledge.
On the other side, if you stopped practising for a while, you will notice that once you get immersed back all the knowledge will flow back to you.
Find people on social media to talk to. Take every God sent opportunity to practice the language: listen to podcasts for advanced learners, in your target language or find some related to your hobbies. You will kill two birds this way.
As you can see, you need to invest some time in making sure you keep the flame of your second language burning, but it’s worth it! Don’t you think so?
How do you make sure that you don’t forget a language for which you reached a high level? Feel free to comment below.
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