One of the questions I get asked the most is, “How are you able to speak so many different languages?”
Well, the truth is, it’s not as complicated as it may seem. Languages have always played a vital role in my life, from my bilingual upbringing to my university days when I picked up even more. Today, I’m excited to share some of my personal tips on how to maintain proficiency in multiple languages and prevent that dreaded language attrition.
So let’s dive straight into it!🤿
1. Consistency is Key
Just like with any skill, consistency is the secret sauce to language maintenance. Dedicate a little time each day to each of your languages. Whether it’s reading a short article, watching a TV show, or chatting with a native speaker online, a daily dose of each language keeps the rust away.
2. Mix it Up
Language maintenance doesn’t have to be a chore, so switch it up a bit and do it regularly. I could start my day with a French podcast during breakfast, then read some Dutch news during lunch, and watch a vlog in Italian in the evening. Variety is the spice of language life!
3. Stay Connected with Native Speakers
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to connect with native speakers of your target languages. Join language exchange websites like iTalki or look for some social media accounts that post regularly content on the language you want to learn – that way you can connect with other people learning that same language and before you know it, you’ve got yourself a language learning buddy! Plus, connecting with native speakers not only help you practice but also keep you immersed in the culture.
4. Set Realistic Goals
Don’t aim to be perfect in all of them all the time, otherwise you run the risk of overwhelming yourself, and that will make language learning feel like a chore to you instead of a hobby. Instead, focus on specific language goals for each month or quarter. Maybe you want to improve your French vocabulary or brush up on your Italian grammar.
5. Embrace Your Interests
Incorporate your language practice into your hobbies and interests. Love cooking? Try out recipes in your target languages. A fan of fitness? Follow workouts in another language. By merging your passions with language learning, you’ll stay engaged and motivated.
6. Use Language Learning Apps
There are good language learning apps out there that cater to multiple languages. Apps like Duolingo and Babbel which can help you maintain and improve your skills on the go. Now, time for me to make a very important point: language learning apps do not make you fluent in a language! They can help you improve your comprehension of a language, yes but you cannot solely rely on them to help you become proficient.
7. Keep a Language Journal
This is such a handy tool, and one that is probably my favourite one. Write down new words, phrases, or interesting cultural insights you come across. This not only reinforces your memory but also serves as a delightful trip down language memory lane.
8. Be Kind to Yourself
Finally, remember that it’s okay to make mistakes and have off days. Language learning is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the process, enjoy the small victories, and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Your language journey is an ongoing story, and the best chapters are yet to come. The key is to make it a natural and enjoyable part of your daily life. So, keep the curiosity alive, stay consistent, and watch your language skills thrive.
Happy language learning!