[A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
Learning a new language is easy as there are plenty of resources available like online tools, podcasts, books, etc. But, the most challenging thing that every language learner struggle with is – avoid forgetting a language.
Any language learner can tell that they forget some information over time. We fill up our brain space with the Starbuck menu that there’s no room left. There are just as many ways to let language become like an abandoned house in our mind.
We might remember common vocabulary but forget some of the more advanced expressions. I might remember how to conjugate verbs but not what each verb tense is called. But worst of all, I could eventually forget my target language altogether.
Ten years ago, I was really good at Japanese – I even memorize all Hiragana and Katakana altogether. Once graduating from high school, I never used it anymore and eventually forget all of them. So sad when thinking about the hard work I put in to learn Japanese years ago.
You’ve put a lot of time into learning a language, so you don’t want your study time to be wasted. Not only did you choose which language to learn and figure out the best way to learn for you, but you put in countless hours of studying that you could have set aside for other interests. If you don’t work to maintain your language skills, all this time and effort could be wasted.
So why not keep it in the front of your mind with a few simple strategies?
Watch a Netflix series in your target language
Since I decided to subscribe to Netflix, I get addicted to a foreign language TV series. Luckily, this gives me regular practice with my target language. There’s nothing as satisfying as a Netflix binge, right?
As a translator, I need to practice language daily by watching TV series with English subtitles. I searched for the meaning of a certain word that I don’t know and keep practicing until I remember it. This is such an easy way to avoid forgetting a language.
Reading works in your target language
If you’re someone who loves to read a good book before bed, you can easily change your bedtime reading habit into an excellent language refresher by reading books in your target language.
There are plenty of lists of French-language books that you could read whenever you have spare time. All you have to do is double-check to make sure it’s in your target language.
To get the most out of your reading, try reading aloud. This way, you’ll not only reinforce your reading skills, but you’ll also keep up your speaking practice. This is a good practice if you want to work as an interpreter.
Make friends with native speakers
I enjoy being alone, but having friends who help me with my target language is even nicer. So, if you already have a friend who speaks your target language, all you have to do is converse with them in that language to avoid forgetting a language.
If you don’t already have a friend who speaks your target language, there are plenty of ways to make friends. I met a lot of friends through Instagram and also Tinder. However, there’s a difference between simple language exchange and long-term friendship. If you’re hoping to turn your language exchange friendship into a long-term one, it’s important to select the right partner.
Look for people with the same interests, and be sure to share the main interests in your profile. The more you have in common, the easier it will be to make a deeper connection that can last a lifetime. When someone likes dogs and coffee, it’s easier for me to converse with them. It feels like socializing rather than studying/practicing, making it more enjoyable to continue long-term.
Travel abroad to refresh your skills
Are you a traveler? If you need to travel abroad to keep your language skills fresh, so be it!
Traveling to a place where the language you’re trying to maintain is spoken can help you practice using your skills in context. Over the length of your trip, you might even notice more and more of your language skills coming back to you. Even the local people would be so grateful when you’re learning their language.
Remember, keeping a language active is a lot easy than reactivating it. So don’t get rusty practice as much as you can, keep up your speaking skills active, do regular conversation, etc.
Use these simple strategies to ensure you never forget your target language. Don’t let all your hard work be for naught!
Is there any other method do you have to avoid forgetting a language?
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