To not forget a language, consistency is key
Similar to what happens when we learn other skills, if we don’t practice the language that we’ve learned, we will probably forget it. Regardless of which of the 6 tips to not forget a language you choose to follow, consistency is a must.
You have to make a commitment with yourself. Include the intention to practice the target language on your schedule, just like you would include going to the gym. Nobody is ever “done” with working out. The same happens with language learning. There is no finish line, it’s a process.
1. Netflix and chill, literally
A good and relaxing way to expand your knowledge is to watch a movie in the language that you don’t want to forget, with subtitles in that language, or with no subtitles at all.
If you are not comfortable with this step yet, you can watch a shorter content instead. Youtube videos, TV shows and news channels might be easier.
2. Plot twist your ears
It’s time for you to create a new playlist, or give a twist to your old one! Discover cool songs in the foreign language you want to practice, search for the lyrics, and listen to them on loop.
Another option is to listen to podcasts. You can even change the speed according to your needs.
3. Read all about it
Release the intellectual beast in you, and start reading in the language you want to not forget. You don’t have to start right away with a 600-page book. If you want to start from scratch, a children’s book might be a good option (in case of awkwardness, just say it’s for your cousin).
Subscribing to a blog or following a newspaper could also be interesting ways to increase your vocabulary.
4. Loosen your tongue
It’s important to also practice pronunciation. Language and multicultural meetings are good opportunities for you to put the foreign language to practice. You can easily find such events on platforms like Meetup or Facebook.
You can also practice the speaking component with a friend. If a friend of yours is either comfortable with your target language, or interested in learning the same language as you, both can agree on one day to only speak with each other in that language.
5. “Learn as if you were to live forever”
What better way to not forget a language than to continuing to learn it? If you don’t feel like taking language classes over an extended period of time, there are other options.
Language learning apps allow you to follow a learning program and keep your own pace.
There are also language groups that allow you to keep learning in a more informal way. If that sounds interesting to you, check SPEAK’s language and culture exchange groups.
6. Be a tourist in your own city
If you are learning, for example, Italian, going on a vacation to Italy is a perfect way to make your Italian reborn from the ashes.
However, there are more affordable ways to refresh your rusty foreign language. You can try to immerse yourself in the culture of the country in which your target language is spoken. Explore the restaurants in your city that have that country’s cuisine. Dare to order your food in the language that you want to not forget. Go see cultural events and art exhibits. Visit the areas of your town with a higher concentration of the culture you’re trying to immerse yourself into.
7. Help the tourists in your city
This one is a bonus! A perfect opportunity to practice your target language is to speak with natives of that language. Why not do it in your own city? With nowadays’ easiness to travel, it’s not difficult to find tourists in every city. So if a tourist in your city asks you for directions in a foreign language that you know, just answer them in that language. Worst case scenario? They resort to the ever-loyal google maps, while you feel proud that you made an effort to speak a foreign language!
When I was in Italy, a local man realised that my group was Portuguese and took the chance to practice his Portuguese. We ended up talking the whole metro ride and got to know about his time in Brazil.
Will you capture it, or just let it slip?
As you can see, there are a lot of easy and fun options that allow you to not forget a language. Seize every opportunity that you have to put the target language into practice. You already got the knowledge. If you don’t put it to practice, you will probably forget it. But if you practice it, chances are that you even learn new things!
What other ways do you use to not forget a language? Let us know in the comments 🙂