I love having guest posts on my blog! They come from various people from all over the world and cover a variety of topics, from homeschooling to upcycling. Sometimes, the authors are experts in their fields and offer such great advice, like this one from Ariadne of the Positive Parenting Connection or this one by MegSanity! I know most of the bloggers who guest post for me, but sometimes, someone emails me with a guest post idea and Paul is one of them. This post about maintaining your less spoken language he send me were perfect for this blog! When we came back to Poland after spending two years in Germany, my parents worked hard to help me maintain my German and TV, books and songs (as well as assigning Sunday as the day we spoke German) were the main tools to keep me interested in speaking it. As a side note if you want to guest post for me or some other blog, please read the blog first and check whether the post you want to write fits the blogs’s audience. But otherwise, I am always open to guest posts and sponsored posts, so let me know if you want to submit something!
To truly master a language, the best strategy is to immerse yourself in a place where the language is spoken. This way, you’ll be using the language every day, and you’ll be well on your way to fluency. Unfortunately, this is a two-way street: if you don’t engage regularly with a foreign language, your skills will deteriorate rapidly. But don’t worry! There are several simple, easily implemented tips and tricks that will help you maintain your language skills, even if you don’t use the language in your day-to-day life.
- Change the language settings on your gadgets
Nowadays, we spend a lot of time on our phones, tablets, and computers. And luckily for us language learners, these websites and gadgets all have a plethora of language options! Change the language of your Facebook, email inbox, and cell phone into the language that you want to practice. You’ll be reminded of important vocabulary words, and you’ll be practicing the language with every click.
- Listen to music
Songs are great for keeping up your language skills: they’re fun, easy to remember, and are chock-full of useful expressions and colloquial sayings. So why not load up your iPod with songs in the language that you want to maintain? If you want some foreign language music suggestions, check out some useful lists that the Internet has to offer. And for an added bonus, sing along — you’ll be practicing both your listening and speaking skills!
- Read newspapers in a different language
To add an educational component to learning about what’s going on in the world, consider getting your news from a source in the language that you want to practice. Newspapers contain a host of great, useful vocabulary that is hard to encounter in other places, such as names of organizations and countries. Not only will you be a more informed and worldly citizen, but your language skills will improve, too!
- Take advantage of online resources
The Internet has an extensive collection of free online resources that can help you learn fun facts and practice your language skills, such as this infographic about ordering coffee around the world. If you’re feeling brave, test your skills with these foreign-language level tests!
- Read translated versions of your favorite books
Languages are a little bit magical: every sentence is slightly different when you read it in a different language. For that reason, reading your favorite books in translation can be especially exciting, as you’ll be able to see how your experience of the book changes when it’s in a different language. This is great for practicing your language skills: given that you know the plot of the book, you’ll be able to follow along easily, picking up new words and phrases along the way.
- Break a sweat!
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that send your brain into high-gear. For that reason, working out with foreign-language exercise videos is a great way to perfect both your fitness and your language skills! Try browsing online for a video that you particularly like. Or, if you’d rather exercise on your own time, load up a playlist with foreign-language songs or podcasts, and listen to it during your workout. You’ll be surprised how easily the words stick in your memory!
When you don’t speak a language in your everyday life, it’s easy to let your skills slip through the cracks. Don’t let this happen! As you can see, taking a few simple steps will ensure that you don’t forget the language that you’ve worked so hard to learn. With a little bit of practice each day, you’ll not only maintain your language skills, but even improve them.
Paul writes for Language Trainers, which provides individually-tailored language training on a one-on-one or small group basis worldwide. Language Trainers offers several free educational resources, such as foreign language level tests. Don’t hesitate to email paul@languagetrainers.