I am a recent languages graduate, and I think the fear when ending any kind of language learning process is that without constant practising, you will lose your language skills. A language is something that you need to practice in order to improve, and it can be daunting taking on the task of improving by yourself.
So today I wanted to come up with a few ways to keep up your language skills, making sure you don’t lose your speaking, writing, or listening skills even when you’ve graduated or finished secondary school.
Most people stop studying languages after secondary school, and so it’s always a good idea to have a few tricks up your sleeve if you’re wanting to keep up a language in your own time.
Whether you want to keep up your high school Spanish or you’ve graduated from University and don’t want to lose your French- this post offers a few ways to keep up your language skills before we can travel and put them to good use!
Below, find 6 ways to keep up a language, even when you’ve finished formal teaching or need to improve on your own
Listen to Podcasts
I really recommend immersing yourself in a language when you’re trying to keep it up- and there are so many choices for podcasts on sites such as Spotify or Apple Music. They have podcasts for beginners all the way through to those who are almost fluent- and I find it super helpful to have a listen to something in French when I need to keep up with the language.
There are also podcasts that tell you what has been said in English (if this is your preferred language) so you know that you’ve been following everything correctly.
I currently have Le Monde notifications on my phone, so as well as BBC breaking news I also get news from one of the major French news platforms. I find this means I can get bite-sized pieces of information, and also learn new words about current affairs.
I think one of the main things you learn when studying a language at University is that it’s not just about the language- it’s about the context of that country, what it means to live there, and how the people live and behave. I think reading articles about a certain country is the perfect way to learn more about the country, its language, and its culture.
Watch Foreign Films and Shows
I’ve been doing this one since I graduated in June, and it’s been so helpful for keeping up my language skills. I usually keep the French subtitles on while I watch, so it means I’m keeping with with my reading and listening skills. I recommend ‘The Hook-Up Plan‘ and ‘Call My Agent’ on Netflix.
I recommend watching foreign films or shows if you’re trying to keep up your language skills at whatever level. It sounds silly, but even if you watch a child’s show in a foreign language it means you’re understanding and immersing yourself in the language more than if you just stick to your home language.
Use an Online Tool
I think online sites such as Duolingo and Memrise are brilliant for keeping up with vocabulary, and it’s very easy to lose this vocab after your graduate or finish studying. I definitely know my vocab isn’t as good as it was a year or so ago, and so I really need to follow my own advice here!
A great way to look out for your vocab skills is by writing a little book of new words and phrases- especially ones that will come in useful when you can travel again.
Listen to the News
Okay, so foreign news can often seem super super fast, especially if you’re not the most confident language learner. I really recommend sites such as French Slow News, where the headlines are slowed down to a speed which is challenging but realistic.
When I studied at A-Level I used to try and listen to the French news before any speaking or listening exams- and I still maintain that even if you don’t completely understand what’s going on, it’s still a good way to get your brain familiar with a certain language.
Think in a Foreign Language
I try to do this when I remember, and it’s a fun way to keep your language skills going. I try to occasionally talk to myself and think about what I’m going to do in a different language, just to check I still have the right phrases.
If you ever want or need to speak your language again on a regular basis, it’s great to want to know you still have the right accent and phrasing to easily slip back into it!
Do you have any recommendations for ways to keep up a language? Have you ever enjoyed learning a language, at school or University? What language do you enjoy learning?
Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy reading x