Lesson Transcript

Few things are more discouraging than putting in the work and effort to learn a foreign language, only to not use it for a while and forget a large part of what you studied.
Once you have a good handle on a language it’s not hard to practice it so that it stays in the forefront of your mind.
In this video we’ll take a look at 5 practical ways you can make your target language a part of your daily life so that you don’t forget it.
1) Use language exchanges
In case you don't know, the idea behind a language exchange is that you find someone who fluently speaks your target language and is also learning your native language. During the exchange you spend half the time speaking in the language you’re learning, and the other half in the language they’re learning.
This kind of exchange is a great way to practice your speaking skills and cement the material you’ve learned into your brain.
One great thing about practicing through a language exchange is that your language partner is a fellow language learner. They will be able to sympathize with your struggles and even give you some insightful tips from their own personal experience. Most major cities will have at least one meetup or language club where you can practice languages with people from around the world.
But sometimes it can be hard to find people who speak it. If you can’t find a local exchange, or there are no Afrikaans speakers in your city, you can connect with native speakers through online language exchanges. There are numerous free sites that allow you to search for users based on country and language and have a text, audio, or video practice session.
2) Immerse yourself digitally
Most phones, laptops, and apps will allow you to change the language of their interface. Why not change it to your target language?
This simple change may seem small and inconsequential but it can actually be an effective way to reinforce your use of the language. You see your language skills are like a muscle. If you use them on a regular basis then your skill in the language will be in top shape. The more you use it, the easier it is to remember it. However if you go for long stretches without using the language, then you might have a problem. Those linguistic muscles will start to atrophy before too long and you’ll notice a drop in your language ability.
Simply changing the language on your electronic devices won’t equate to any heavy lifting in a foreign language, but it could be comparable to a warm up or quick workout.
Remember that you probably use electronic devices everyday. If you can use at least some of that time thinking in your target language while using them each week that adds up to a huge amount of time and can keep your knowledge fresh.
3) Teach others the language
You don’t have to be an expert in a new language to lend a hand to another language learner. Helping a beginner through the language will not only make you feel good about helping someone out, it will also help you use the language and keep your skills sharp.
Remember those language exchanges we talked about? Well what if you looked for other learners so that you could help them in the language. Don’t worry if you don’t feel qualified to teach the language. They’re not looking to get their PhD in linguistics. Most likely a new learner would appreciate someone who's been down the road before, someone to show them common pitfalls and shortcuts.
You have been a complete newbie in something and been graciously helped by someone with more experience? Pay it forward and be that expert to someone else. Your language muscles will thank you for it.
4) Keep a journal or blog
Writing out your thoughts in a foreign language is one of the best ways to sharpen your skills.
It forces you to take time to construct sentences and it will reveal your weak points very quickly. Journaling is also one of the easiest and cheapest ways to practice. All you need is a pen and a notebook.
If you’re not the journaling type don’t freak out. You don’t have to write an autobiography. Simply recounting your day or describing an experience will be enough to get your language juices flowing. The entries can be long, but they don’t have to be. This exercise is flexible and can take any shape you want.
We recommend writing short daily entries. You can even post them online for native speakers to correct. This way you can hold yourself accountable and write regularly.
There are several free sites that allow you to post an entry and have it reviewed by native speakers.
5) Entertain yourself in the language
Books, movies, youtube videos, language learning websites, music, the list goes on.
There’s an endless supply of media out there so you’re likely to find some that interests you in your target language. Whether you love sports, rock music, or sewing you are sure to find something to entertain you in your target language.
Learning a language is hard, but remembering it doesn’t have to be. These ideas are here to help jumpstart your brain. These aren’t the only ways to practice your target language. Do your best to use the language on a daily basis and make it a part of your everyday life. Remember all languages aren’t just spoken...they’re lived!
And for even more ways to use your target language everyday, check out our complete language learning program. Sign up for your free lifetime account by clicking on the link in the description. Get tons of resources to have you speaking in your target language. And if you enjoyed these tips, hit the "like" button, share the video with anyone who's trying to learn a new language, and subscribe to our channel. We release new videos every week! I'll see you next time. Bye!