Trying to keep a language

I’ve been finding different ways to remember the languages I have learned.  It’s difficult to remember languages on my own.  When I was in school, having class everyday meant being forced to think and speak in that language for at least an hour a day.  Through experience, I already know the consequences of not keeping a language.  I can speak Chinese without much problem, but my reading and writing has definitely deteriorated. 

I think language learners also run into a problem (perhaps around intermediate level), where classes are probably no longer necessary to improve. And what if you’ve learned a language completely on your own?  How do you go about learning past the basics? Language is one of those things that need constant use and exercise.

The article “Learning a Language From an Expert, on the Web” from the NY Times describes different ways of learning languages online.  The description of Livemocha sounds like it would be a good tool to practice writing and grammar.

My plan of maintaining the languages that I currently use is to pick up a book and read it.  It’s a good way to learn new vocabulary words and improve reading.  Having a single language dictionary also helps since it really leads to more vocabulary words.  It also helps in thinking in that language and understanding style.

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One thought on “Trying to keep a language

  1. You have a great blog by the way. Maintaining a language is always an issue, I think above all it tests your time management capabilities. I wish to get to intermediate level some day because the day I start running out of options for language learning means that I have left the Beginners category. As for Livemocha, I personally felt their exercises were not meant for true beginners. Nonetheless, they have some interesting exercises and you can find language partners.

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