How to not forget a second language: 12 Brief Tips

How not to forget a second language How to

It is believed that those who have spent enough time learning a foreign language will never forget it. But is this true or does the language tend to be forgotten over time?

The answer is simple – indeed, over time, in the absence of practice the language begins to be forgotten. And the process of forgetting is much faster than the process of learning. The rule is simple: the lower the level of language is at the particular time the faster connection with acquired knowledge is lost. Of course, a person will always remember simple vocabulary and grammar. However, things are not so simple with the spoken language and difficult vocabulary.

How not to forget a second language

What to do not to forget a foreign language: Brief Tips

In order to keep your language level in shape, it is worth following some simple rules:

  1. Talk in the language you’re learning for several minutes a day. Practice shows that if you talk for 5-10 minutes a day, your language level will start to improve over time.
  2. Identify your weak parts. Understanding which skill you will deteriorate the fastest will help you get the results you need by working through the problematic aspect.
  3. Do translations. Pick up an interesting text and translate it. This will increase your vocabulary.
  4. Do bedtime reading. Bedtime reading has long been proven to help you learn better.
  5. Watch shows and soap operas in the language you’re studying. Spending just 20-40 minutes a day watching your favorite foreign shows can greatly improve your foreign language speaking skills.
  6. Work as a tutor. If you help someone to learn a foreign language from the basics, you won’t forget the basic rules yourself.
  7. Search for information in a foreign language. The information can be any according to your interests.
  8. Subscribe to foreign social networking groups. You can find a lot of useful information in foreign languages, as well as have a lively discussion with users.
  9. Leave comments. Feel free to express your opinions in a foreign language on social media.
  10. Make your own blog. Feel free to leave posts in foreign languages. It will allow you to make your writing more expressive over time.
  11. Sing songs in the foreign language you’re learning. You can sing songs both at home and at karaoke club. The positive effect is guaranteed.
  12. Listen to audiobooks in the language you study. It is convenient that you can listen to them in any place.

The complex approach will allow you to significantly raise your level of knowledge of a foreign language.

What you shouldn't do not to forget a second language

Speak a second language

It is a good idea if you have a family member who also can speak the language you’re learning, or if you attend meetings which include people from countries where this language is spoken. Speak to them in their language.

If there is no native speaker nearby, search online. For common languages this will not be a problem. For rare languages, it’s harder, but you can try.

And if you can not find an interlocutor – talk to yourself. You can express your thoughts in a foreign language to practice speaking.

Speak a second language with your friends

Read and write

The main rule for not forgetting a foreign language is to use it. The most common practice is to read and write in a foreign language. There are several options here:

  • You can find special groups on social media that publish information in a foreign language.
  • You can also buy literature in a foreign language, based on your level.
  • Reading news or bloggers who are native speakers of a foreign language you study can also be a good practice.
  • Writing in a foreign language is also an essential mechanism for not forgetting it after learning. Start a blog, or just get to know a native speaker with whom you can keep in constant communication online.
Read and write not to forget a foreign language

Watch movies and listen to audiobooks

Now if you want, you can find films, TV series, and entertainment programs with subtitles in any language. Although, of course, this primarily applies to popular languages such as English, Spanish, German, Chinese, etc. But even if your second language is much less common, look for content in it purposefully! And if you have a choice –  watch the same show in your mother language or in your second language – choose the second language.

Moreover, for popular languages, there are special educational audiobooks, compiled according to the level of the language proficiency, which also can be useful for you.

By the way, watching movies is a great source of new words. Here you can read more about useful word sources.

Watch movies and listen to audiobooks not to forget a foreign language

Find a student who wants to learn your native language and speaks the language you are studying

Ask around, what if someone who speaks the language you’re learning wants to study a foreign language that is your native one? Teach that person your language and practice the foreign one at the same time! This practice will help you better learn the rules and vocabulary of the foreign language you are studying.

Find a student who wants to learn your native language

Use flashcards apps

Flashcard apps allow you to quickly repeat vocabulary words and not forget them over time. Furthermore, you can use them anywhere, whether on the bus, at home or at the airport. It’s extremely convenient and practical.

One of the best ways not to forget foreign words in the future is to keep your own dictionary and memorize words efficiently. This is where the Langavia Personal Dictionary app will help you, in which everything is designed specifically for this purpose. The process of memorizing words is built in such a way that you will remember the words you have learned for a long time.

Remember that only by practicing the language from time to time (in any form) you will not forget it. Otherwise, it will go out of your head so quickly and imperceptibly that you will only have to regret all the effort you put into learning the language.

Use flashcards not to forget a second language

FAQ

Can you forget your second language?
Few people who have not practiced their language long enough avoid second language exhaustion, or the process of gradually forgetting a second language. However, this can happen at different rates and at different times.
How long does it take to forget a second language?
It all depends on the student. Many people remember a second language for decades without speaking it every day. And others, for example, can forget a language completely in 3-5 years without paying much attention to learning a second language. Moreover, there are those who forget the second language after 1-2 years. In general, we can say that it will take from 2 to 5 years.
Why am I losing my language skills?
Many psychologists believe that "disuse" (memories we don't actively try to recall very often) is the reason we lose vocabulary words in different languages and other things over time.
What to do if you’ve forgotten a language?
1. Understand that language acquisition is a lifelong endeavor.
2. Refresh your vocabulary knowledge by means of flashcard apps.
3. Learn the language on a specific schedule, whether you need to or not.
4. Set goals for yourself to improve your skills.
5. Watch Netflix series in your target language to improve.
6. Use bedtime reading to refresh your language.
7. Get native speaker buddies for simple, ongoing practice that will make you excited about mastering your target language.
8. Hire a tutor for individual tests to make sure your abilities aren't stagnant (and to discuss individual solutions).
9. Go abroad to increase your ability and motivation to learn.
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Langavia Team

We help people to learn new languages and expand their vocabulary effectively.

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Can you forget your second language?
Few people who have not practiced their language long enough avoid second language exhaustion, or the process of gradually forgetting a second language. However, this can happen at different rates and at different times.
How long does it take to forget a second language?
It all depends on the student. Many people remember a second language for decades without speaking it every day. And others, for example, can forget a language completely in 3-5 years without paying much attention to learning a second language. Moreover, there are those who forget the second language after 1-2 years. In general, we can say that it will take from 2 to 5 years.
Why am I losing my language skills?
Many psychologists believe that "disuse" (memories we don't actively try to recall very often) is the reason we lose vocabulary words in different languages and other things over time.
What to do if you’ve forgotten a language?
1. Understand that language acquisition is a lifelong endeavor.
2. Refresh your vocabulary knowledge by means of flashcard apps.
3. Learn the language on a specific schedule, whether you need to or not.
4. Set goals for yourself to improve your skills.
5. Watch Netflix series in your target language to improve.
6. Use bedtime reading to refresh your language.
7. Get native speaker buddies for simple, ongoing practice that will make you excited about mastering your target language.
8. Hire a tutor for individual tests to make sure your abilities aren't stagnant (and to discuss individual solutions).
9. Go abroad to increase your ability and motivation to learn.