How To Remember A Language You Have Started to Forget

Did you learn a language once upon a time, only to not use it and think you have forgotten it? Well, fortunately, those skills you acquired are not gone; just dormant. With the right tools, you can unearth the language much the way you might a fossil: one brushstroke at a time.

If you have a language dinosaur kicking around in the back of your mind and you are keen to revive it, we are here to help you do just that! Check out these great tips on how to remember a language you (think) have forgotten.

Get back in shape

people running a marathon - Remember A Language You Have Started to Forget

Photo by Bruno Mertins via Flickr

Learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint. If it has been a while since you last ‘trained’, jumping in full-throttle where you left off at your peak language fitness level simply is not feasible. If you stopped running, you wouldn’t wake up one day a year later and expect your body to physically be able to run a marathon, right? The same applies to languages. Instead of picking up where you left off the last time you studied it, dip your figurative toe in the water by reintroducing yourself to the basics. This means tackling lower-level materials to ease yourself back in.

Make it a daily habit

The power of habit is incredibly important for, well, almost anything in life. You cannot have a relaxed approach to language learning when you only practise it sporadically. One of the reasons you forgot the language in the first place is because you stopped utilising it every day and let your learning habit slide!

Do not worry, creating a daily habit doesn’t necessarily translate into a huge time commitment. In fact, it is better to spend 15-20 minutes every day studying your target language than hours in a single day once a week. With the latter, you may end up forgetting everything between lessons or even burning yourself out and quitting the language altogether.

Hone in on what went wrong

This time around, you are not a first-time learner, which means you have a little language baggage to carry. Sit down and take an objective look at your reasons for quitting the language the last time. Did you run out of steam? Did you struggle to make time for it? Or maybe you thought the language was too hard to learn? Whatever the reason, try to figure out why you stopped and what you can do to prevent this from happening again. What is motivating you to learn again, now? What are some ways you can fit language practice into your daily routine? And how can you surround yourself with people who will help you to tackle the more difficult aspects of the language and motivate you to keep going?

Set small goals

person completing a list of tasks - Remember A Language You Have Started to Forget

If you set a personal goal where you want to become fluent in your target language, you may discover that this leaves you dragging your feet to get back into the learning process. This sort of goal is too big and overwhelming. During your first week back studying the language, set yourself a few small goals that are easily achievable. This can be something as simple as re-learning 10 words, having a short conversation with someone or listening to a podcast episode in your target language. With each small goal you achieve, you will feel motivated to continue. And you’ll start progressing towards your larger goals as a result!

Immerse yourself right away

There is no better way to rekindle your love for a language than with complete and immediate immersion. Not only will this awaken the language skills that have lain dormant in your brain for some time now, but it will serve as a pleasant reminder of all the things you enjoyed about the language in the first place. This does not need to be a difficult or time-consuming process. Listen to a podcast during your commute or watch a movie or TV show with the subtitles off to see how much you can understand. Even if you only catch a small amount of what is being said, you are jumpstarting your brain and reinforcing your language memory, too.

Before you implement any of these great tips, the first step you should take to reviving a language you have learned before is to make sure you have access to top-tier language classes. We offer courses in a wide variety of languages and our native-speaking tutors can customise them to suit your level and personal goals. Start rekindling those latent language skills today by dropping us a quick enquiry to find out more about how we can help you!