There are so many ways to learn a new language out there that it can be overwhelming when deciding which method to use.
Every polyglot and experienced learner is giving their best language learning tips, many of which are the same boring old things.
Foreign language learning isn’t boring.
And Dutch polyglot Kamila Tekin is here to prove this point.
Kamila currently speaks 8 languages and has taught herself English to fluency through a very unique, fun, and creative method of studying. And she’s here to share that method with you today!
Are you tired of doing the same old study routine that other language bloggers claim to live by, but aren’t working for you? Then read onward, because Kamila is about to give her best tips for learning a new language to fluency through writing!
Writing is an excellent activity that will help you improve the way you express yourself. Not necessarily in your native language but also in your target language.
The good thing about writing is that you can think about what you want to say. You can pause whenever you want and look up words and conjugations of verbs. You can stop for a while and ask a native speaker for help. When you gathered the needed information, you can continue.
You can take your time. Nobody is waiting for a response immediately.
You can always go back and adjust some words and phrases to make the story sound more interesting.
Also, writing is one of the best ways to utilize new vocabulary and helps you remember what you’ve learned more quickly.
Writing is what you need to do more often if you want to become fluent. And here are six tips that you can start using today.
1. Prepare relevant topics
What are you currently working on with the language that you’re learning? Are you trying to remember the verb tenses? Or are you preparing yourself for an exam and do you want to improve your vocabulary related to the topics of the exam?
The first thing you should do is look for relevant topics to practice exactly what you need. Here are some examples:
- Where do you see yourself in five years from now? (To practice the future tense)
- What is your best childhood memory? (To practice the past tense)
- What are 2 of your favorite books and why? (To practice exam topics)
- Do you think climate change is real? And why? (to practice exam topics)
In case you’re learning a language as a hobby or for other purposes than school or work, you can focus on topics that are interesting to you. That will help you enjoy the activity and when you talk about topics that capture your attention, you won’t learn anything that is unnecessary.
2. Read more and cite phrases
One of the best tips for improving your writing is reading.
When you read more, you can discover how others describe the idea you have in your mind. Once you’ve chosen a topic, go to Google, and type your topic in your target language. Select one article and read what other people write.
When you see phrases and idioms that resonate with you, cite them.
Write them down in a notebook or save them in a Word file. Make sure you keep them so that you can use them later in your text.
3. Write the first draft and leave it for at least one day
It’s hard to write in your target language. For some people, it’s hard to write texts in general. Especially when writing is not a habit for you. But you can still write your way to fluency.
Just start writing the idea as you have it in your mind. Don’t re-read what you’ve written. It’s crucial that you empty your head without criticizing yourself. When you go back and read, a critical part of your brain will be more active and the creative part of your brain will turn off.
It will get harder to finish your text and you’ll get blocked easily.
If you’re a beginner, you may tend to look up the words you’re looking for. It’s better to describe the words or write them in your native language between brackets (). You can look up what you mean later. Focus on getting the idea out of your mind in the first place.
4. Look up words and add them to flashcards
Okay, now you’ve finished your text, you can finally look up words that you were not sure about and look at the correct verb conjugations. Remember that it’s better to not read and correct the entire text first. The point of this step is that you learn new things.
Depending on what your learning style is, you may want to add the words that you’ve just learned to a flashcard set or make a list that you can review regularly.
5. Take a REST
Leave your text for at least one day and take a rest. Rest is very important helps our brain recover and helps us think more creatively.
Go outside, enjoy the weather, meet your friend, or just do something else that has nothing to do with your target language or your text.
6. Read your text again and make some adjustments
After one or two days, you can look back at your text and make some adjustments. Believe me, you’ll be able to spot your own mistakes! Even if you’re at a beginning level.
Sometimes as a beginner, it’s easier to spot other’s mistakes while you make the same mistakes yourself. After the break, reading your own text will seem like you’re reading someone else’s text. Suddenly everything you haven’t thought of will pop up.
You can write your way to fluency when you write often
The first couple of times may seem hard but the more you write, the easier it will get. Try to write at least twice a month in your target language.
But where can I write?
You can write anywhere you want. Use a diary, bullet journal, or get creative and start a blog. You can start one for free on WordPress or Tumblr. In fact, I’ve written some French blog posts on Tumblr and started with my own website (Polyglot’s Diary) with the goal of improving my English.
Blogging is fun and as soon as you get the hang of it, people will start following you and encourage you to continue. You may find other bloggers who are running a blog for the same purpose. It’s always fun to meet like-minded people with similar goals and exchange your ideas.
Are you ready to write your way to fluency?
Kamila wrote her way to fluency on Polyglot’s Diary when she was learning English. Now, she’s trying out several other fun activities to become fluent in Portuguese, French, and Spanish. Follow her for her tips and progress on Instagram and Twitter.