If you’ve forgotten a language you previously learned, don’t worry. We’ll show you how to learn a language again in as little as 21 days.
Whether you learned Spanish in high school, or went to Paris last year to pick up some Francais, you can still resurrect your language skills. A lot of the knowledge you’ve acquired should still remain in your long-term memory.
The solution then, is to reactivate those unused memories stored in your brain in order to bring you back to the level you were, if not better!
Day 1–7 of Relearning a language
1. Assess where you are & plan
You’ll notice a recurring theme throughout our articles on Rype Academy, with heavy emphasis on goal setting and planning.
This is because we believe (and hopefully you) that time is the most important commodity we have.
With a strong plan and goal setting, you can relearn a language in more effective and faster ways.
The first step is to perform a self-analysis of where you are right now.
Step I. Recall: Remember where you were with your language before you stopped practicing. Were you a beginner, intermediate, advanced? Was your reading skills strong, but your speaking skills weak? Did you lack grammar structure?
Step II. Analysis: Now assess yourself in the 4 core uses of the language: (writing, reading, hearing, and speaking) by immersing yourself in the forgotten language in their respective mediums.
- Writing: write a journal entry about your day
- Reading: read a newspaper, book, or article
- Hearing: listen to a podcast or movie
- Speaking: reconnect with an old friend or work with your Rype coach
Step III. Plan of focus: When you’ve finished your self-analysis, you’ll notice that you have better recognition of certain language components than others. Perhaps you have kept your ability to understand through reading, but your speaking skills have deteriorated.
Now, you can focus on improving the specific skillsets that you’ve forgotten the most, rather than spending your effort on skills that will only bring you 20% of results.
2. Watch TV/Movies
This may be one of the best, yet productive excuses to watch more TV.
But there’s a catch: you need to watch it in your forgotten language.
Free or premium platforms like Youtube or Netflix allow you to watch TV shows and movies in many of the popular languages you desire (just don’t expect to find the languages Yola or Avestan with ease).
Here’s a few recommended tips if you’re:
- A beginner: Watch with foreign subtitle and native audio
- An intermediate: Watch with native subtitle and foreign subtitle
- An advanced-intermediate: Watch with foreign audio and no subtitle (or foreign subtitle)
*These are just recommended guidelines. It’s better to push yourself to consume more foreign content than not. If you’re in doubt, go foreign.
Day 8–14 of Relearning a language
3. Take foreign immersion wherever you go
By that we mean: listen to audio recordings in your foreign language as you commute, work, and exercise.
This can be in the form of a podcast show, radio, or a recorded audio tape.
What’s great about audio is that you can do multiple things at once, and this form of relearning won’t interrupt your regular routines.
4. Review using a phrasebook
It’s not always so bad to mix in some traditional learning practices that you used when you first learned the language.
You should also have an electronic dictionary that allows you to quickly search up forgotten vocabulary without much hassle.
Here are some resources we recommend:
- Amazon’s Best-Selling Foreign Language Phrasebooks
- Wikitravel’s Complete List of Phrasebooks From Countries Around the World
- Popular Spanish phrases from Omniglot
You can also check out our recommended:
Day 15–21 of Relearning a language
5. Speak it ‘till your jaw hurts
There’s no faster way to relearn a language than forcing yourself to speak it, especially in front of native speakers.
It’ll feel uncomfortable and you’ll make mistakes, no doubt about it.
With that said, it’s recommended you speak with a native speaker who is patient, can provide you professional feedback, and most importantly — make you feel comfortable.
If you have the budget, you can work with a trained Rype coach, who have been trained to maximize your learning while making you feel comfortable.
If you don’t and have the patience & time, finding a language partner would be the next alternative, but read about the downsides of conversation exchanges when you learn a language before diving in.
Here’s some places you could find a partner:
We may have simplified the process of relearning a language, but know that it’s going to come with mountains of mistakes, hardship, and struggle.
Don’t let that discourage you from getting started. It’s better to prepared for the path ahead, then be struck with frustration.
You’ve already done the hard work by learning the language in the first place.
Now it’s your chance to reward yourself by relearning a language you’ve already learned.
Over to you
Which foreign language have you previously learned, but forgot?
Will you be implementing each of the steps we outlined to learn a language you’ve forgotten?
If not, which ones were your favorite? We’d love to hear from you below!
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