Learning a new language and remembering a language you’ve already learned have some similarities, but remembering takes a different set of skills and techniques. If you began to learn a language but have since forgotten, here’s how to break down the remembering process.
Figure Out What Went Wrong
When remembering a language, it’s important to know why you forgot it in the first place. If there were conditions that lead you to stop learning, it’s important to address them before relearning can begin. It’s also good to know whether specific barriers such as accent reduction or reading comprehension discouraged you. You should also determine why you want to relearn it now to refocus on the future and finding the right strategies to prevent the same mistakes.
See Where You Stand
Just because you reached a certain level of skill with language doesn’t mean it will remain that high over years without practice. It’s a good idea to take an assessment test to determine where you stand with the language so that you don’t dive in too deep. This is also a good way to see what areas, such as reading, speaking, or writing in the target language, that need special attention. You might be surprised to find out how much comes back to you, as well!
Reuse What Worked For You
Everyone learns differently, so the tips to learn languages you used at first will likely work again. This is a good time to find old study materials, sites, or courses that worked, and go back through them to relearn what you’ve forgotten. Finding your own personal materials is ideal because any notes you’ve taken or customizing you’ve done can help refresh your memory of the language.
Surround Yourself in the Language
When relearning a language, it’s good to have as much exposure to it as possible. It’s difficult to remember every single word, phrase, grammar rule, or tip that you knew once. Being surrounded by the language as much as possible can bring up memories of skill sets you once have that can be built upon. Good ways to do this are to listen to music in the target language, watch television programs in the target language, or chat with any fluent speakers you know. Of course, living somewhere the target language is spoken doesn’t hurt! ALCC American Language’s campus is right in the heart of New York City, so understand the importance of immersion to language learning and relearning.
Learning a language for the first time and relearning a language are similar, but the latter benefits from unique strategies. Be sure to know your footing and plan things out before diving into relearning the language.