Contrary to popular belief in certain circles, gaining fluency in a foreign language is just half of the challenge. Retaining the ability to speak a foreign language is sometimes more difficult than the actual learning process. For one, there may be no opportunities to speak a second language in daily life. The reality is, not everyone who knows a foreign language is given opportunities everyday to use them. But do not despair when one day you realize that you have forgotten most of what you’ve learned. There are many ways of retaining fluency in a second language.
Reasons why you should endeavor not to forget
People with the talent for languages must take the opportunity to learn a second language because it is an asset that is not only useful in travel to other countries. The ability to converse in many languages opens up many opportunities personally and professionally. Career options are expanded beyond the usual choices, and there are more chances to meet people from foreign cultures and be enriched by interacting with them. Because of these advantages, a second language once learned must not be forgotten.
Exposure is the key
There are many advantages to already being familiar with a language. Retention does not require an instructor or guide. You don’t really need a teacher’s help to retain a language, but there are resources that you need to get your hands on.
There are many tips and recommendations, but of all these strategies the key to not forgetting is continuous exposure. Applying oneself consciously to this activity can be a challenge in itself, but with sufficient motivation and a willingness to make time it is possible.
Keep it fresh
There is another important aspect to constant exposure. This must not be limited to old material, but rather to new and fresh content. This will keep the motivation high and help maintain interest in the language. There are many opportunities for this online.
Instead of just reviewing books and familiar text written in the second language, it would be better to explore online news or magazine sites. Reading political and entertainment news might keep the fire of interest and inspiration alive. These are also excellent ways to expand one’s vocabulary. Similar benefits may be gained from subscribing to TV channels with programs that are presented in the foreign language concerned.
One interesting and fun way of not forgetting the second language that took you a significant time to learn is to find songs and poetry (not so archaic, though). The rhythm of the verse of both poetry and music will help a lot in remembrance. Besides, the themes of songs and poems could make for good conversation topics with a native speaker.
Learn some more
Language is a dynamic entity, and as time goes by it evolves, with changing meanings and the development of new idioms and certain modernisms. This is where it becomes very useful to have a native speaker of the language to interact with regularly. Those whose skill of a language has become dormant may be surprised at the speed with which it returns once there is a native speaker to converse with.