Gengo Tutors- General Language Learning Article

Tips For Language Retention

So many times we learn a foreign language for a specific purpose or a specific season in life. Maybe you are learning Mandarin for a trip overseas or Spanish for a foreign exchange program through your school. If you are learning a foreign language for a temporary situation then you are at risk of language attrition – forgetting the language.

Learning a language is very consuming. With your nose to the books everyday and live chats with your online tutor, retention is easy. However, once the communication and the connection is gone, it is very easy to lose the language skills you have worked so hard to retain. Here are a few tips to help you remember a language for as long as possible.

Online Forums

There are many online forums conducted in foreign languages. This can be a great resource to practice casual, everyday language. Some chat rooms center around culture and others center around travel experiences around the world. Whatever language you are learning, once you find yourself away from the language community online forums are a great way to stay attached.


If possible, subscribe to a print or digital version of a foreign newspaper. Reading up on the latest news will help you keep your technical language skills current. To get the maximum benefit out of your newspaper reading, read the articles aloud. This way you are practicing both reading and speaking.

Listen to Music

Another area of language retention is pronunciation. Music is a great way to keep your accent and pronunciation current. Take time each week and listen to native language speakers express themselves in song. Listen for a few minutes in the car on the way to work or download some foreign language music to listen to in the background at work.

Chat With Native Speakers

Depending on where you live, this may be difficult but try to find a native speaker to regularly meet with and talk. If you are having a hard time locating someone who is willing to chat, you can always call your local high school and community college to see if they have any contacts. There are also online resources to help connect you to local language clubs in your area.

Take A Refresher Course

If you are no longer regularly speaking the foreign language that you have worked so hard to learn, it is recommended that you take a refresher course every few years to keep it going.  Skype language tutors are always available to help you with language retention. Whether you need a few sessions or ongoing tutoring, using a trained live tutor is a great way to keep your language skills current.

Whatever methods you choose, the most important thing is to keep speaking, writing, listening to and reading the language in some capacity. If you once knew a language but feel like it has fizzled, then take the steps to bring it back. Chances are the language is still embedded into your memory – it just needs a little help coming out again!

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