Returning to a language after taking a long break

When learning a new language you ideally want to be maintaining a regular study routine. However, for whatever reason you may find yourself going a long time without practicing or using your target language.

I’ve recently returned to studying Mandarin Chinese after over a yearlong break – here are the top tips that I use, and can hopefully help you ease back into making progress on your language learning journey.

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10 highs and lows of language learning

1. Feeling self conscious of how you sound and how many mistakes you’re probably making…

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2. …but then a native speaker compliments you on your accent.

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3. Being able to spark up conversation with strangers while abroad…

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4. …but then they respond back at lightning speed and you’re brought right back down to Earth

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5. When you can act as translator for a struggling tourist in your city

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6. When Duolingo says you’re 50% fluent but you only understand 0.1% of the movie…

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7. ..but you get excited any way, cos “yes, you just understood what they said!”

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8. Taking the time to learn proper grammar in your target language, and feeling like a true scholar…

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9. …Only to find out, that no-one really talks like that, and you sound “too formal”

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10. When you can eavesdrop into peoples conversations, and actually understand what they’re saying…

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bonus: And lastly, in my opinion probably the most satisfying thing of all…

11. Being able to understand MEMES!

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Remembering new vocabulary

One of the major keys to developing fluency in a foreign language is having a good grasp of its vocabulary. Without knowing many words, you’ll have a difficult time expressing yourself. I’ve read various studies that put fluency at knowing anywhere between 3000-5000 words (add a few extra thousand if you want to enter native territory).

Learning (and remembering) an entirely new bank of vocabulary can seem like a daunting task so here are 5 tips to help you remember new vocabulary:

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Setting language learning goals

No matter where you’re at on your language learning journey, it’s important to set yourself some goals. Whether its; having a 5 minute conversation in your target language, being able to watch a movie without subtitles, or attending a few classes. Setting goals gives you added motivation and allows you to celebrate your progress.

Seeing as though we’re settling into the new year, I’d thought I’d take some time reflect on my language learning goals for 2018. So here is what I’m hoping the next 365 days will bring in terms of languages:

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