How Can You Make Sure Your Language Skills Don’t Go Rusty?
Without regular practice, your language skills may go a little rusty over the weeks, months, and years.
All of that hard work learning screeds of vocabulary and grammar might all be for nought if you don’t maintain your linguistic skills.
There’s a few simple steps that you can take every day to ensure that your levels of language proficiency are up to scratch.
First off, you should assess what language fluency level you are currently working at. How much can you actually remember?
To decide how much time to devote to your practice and what the best methods are for improving your linguistic skills, you need to understand how much your knowledge has deteriorated.
If your skills are very poor, expect to set aside a lot more time to improving your skills than if you’ve just fallen out of the habit for a few weeks!
If your language skills have gone severely downhill, then it’s a good idea to undertake some supplementary learning.
There are plenty of websites and apps (like Babbel and Duolingo) that you can download on your phone to give you a nudge every day to brush up your skills. Having these on hand on your phone at all hours of the day means you don’t have any excuses not to practise in your downtime!
You might also want to attend a regular language course too. Having a qualified teacher re-guiding you will be invaluable when it comes to remembering the correct grammar and sentence structure to employ.
With skills you’ve learnt from your chosen apps or language classes, creating a habit of writing every day in your chosen foreign language(s) will do wonders for maintaining your language skills. A writing habit is particularly beneficial for those whose skills have deteriorated significantly.
Just writing for 10-15 minutes on good old-fashioned paper will help you to reap great results in the long-term. Avoid the temptation of typing on a desktop or mobile device – there’s a danger that you might miss your spelling and grammar mistakes with the autocorrect functions on many programmes.
You don’t need to write anything fancy and complicated. It could be a diary entry for example, or you can translate a blog post or some song lyrics. Anything that gets your brain in gear, thinking about vocabulary and sentence structure!
Get your peepers stuck into reading anything and everything in a different language. From light and easy blog posts to children’s books to classic foreign literature requiring a little more concentration, make sure you read extensively.
Choose something that you’ll enjoy reading otherwise you’ll quickly lose interest and focus. You want to be able to soak in the language, taking note of new words and phrases, so don’t make it hard work for yourself.
You might also want to temporarily (or permanently!) change the language settings on your phone or computer to urge you to constantly read simple messages and actions in a different language so that you aren’t always reverting back to your mother tongue.
Listening to a podcast on your commute or while you’re prepping your dinner at night is an excellent way to boost your linguistic skills.
There are thousands of podcasts covering a massive range of topics, so you’ll never run out of things to listen to in your chosen language.
Podcasts will also help to immerse you in the culture of a country – depending on the podcast, you could be listening to a local celebrity interview or insight from a prominent politician or scientist. Podcasts can expose you to a whole new range of vocabulary and turns of phrases.
Watch A Film
Kick back with some popcorn and soak in the language from your favourite foreign films.
For many, just hearing a language being spoken again will uncover words and phrases that have been buried deep in their mind.
Watching a foreign film, TV programme, or Youtube video is a relaxing and enjoyable way to rejuvenate your language skills. You can pause and rewind and use subtitles to support your re-learning.
Recruit a friend! Maybe you’ve met a buddy on your travels, on a semester abroad, or from an online forum.
You can improve your language skills by chatting to a native speaker via e-mail, text, over the phone, or even via snail-mail.
They can personally keep you on the right track with your written and spoken language skills, and in turn, you can help them out with their English!
Need An Extra Boost?
Global Language Services offer a wide range of language tuition services that can help you out.
We can accommodate one-on-one sessions and small groups, and also offer business/technical English courses.
Many overseas students also seek our services for “pre-study” support prior to commencing their courses.
If you’re interested in what we can do for you, contact us today!