How to stay current with your languages?
We like to think that a second language is like riding a bike, you never forget it, well unless you keep it up it will fade away with time.
As a French native living in the U.K., I find that before I started teaching French my own native language was defecting me. Often, when I was back in my home city Paris, meeting up with friends I used to pause a lot to find my words to keep up with the conversations, we used to laugh about it. I did not pay too much attention to what was happening to me.
The defection of a rarely used language is a real matter, a language is organic like a living thing it needs and must be fed and exerciced, one should keep it active and alive.
So what do you do to stop loosing the precious knowledge of an other language?
How to you stay current?
firstly let’s just remind ourselves that in order to learn well or better, it is important to use and combine different leaning styles:
The Seven Learning Styles
Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.
So now, we can go through my top 6 different ways to maintain a foreign language:
- Watch the news or films with subtitles (channel 4 has a great choice/good of French films for example) , watching your favorite TV series can also help a lot.
- Make the most of technology, I personally use my Nintendo and my iPad… many games and apps are available and some are free!
- Listen to music – here you are using the aural learning styles, I like to combine this one with visual input such as a book with the lyrics, that way you reinforce the information that is sent to your brain. It is a ‘double’ learning technique.
- Read a lot, newspapers, books (the reading should be slow, to allow you to understand and to assimilate). This will allow you to increase your vocabulary, but also you will see the usage of the different tenses.
- Join a discussion group – here you are using the verbal, aural and social learning styles, which is far the best way to improve but also to maintain a language as it is an interactive and hopeful enjoyable experience.
- And for those with a globetrotter soul, select a country where the language is spoken and book yourself a trip: either in a school or language centre, get a job and learn with experiencing life with the natives, work as an au pair …. the options are endless if you with to immerse yourself. It is always important to visit a country where the language is spoken on a regular basic, not only this will help you maintain the language but most importantly it will also help you maintain your confidence in your ability to speak it.
The above are my top 6 ways to maintain a foreign language – what is your way to maintain a foreign language?
If you need any help with your French get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org, I am a professional French Language Assistant – I help children, teenagers and adult learners. I am very passionate about langues, so much so that my son is brought up multilingual.
Saleha Pinhorn (French native)
French Language Assistant