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If you don't use it you lose it


Guest sthrngypsy

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Guest sthrngypsy

I have found this to be so true.  I have always loved studying languages.  I took both Latin and Spanish in high school - 4 years of Spanish and 3 of Latin.  I majored in English and Spanish in college; however I have almost completely forgotten all Spanish (I graduated in 1993).  Can someone give me some tips as to how to get my Spanish knowledge back quickly?  I was always better at reading and writing than speaking.  I'd like this to change as well.

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It isn't true for me. In math I retain 70% or more of what I learned.Also, I learned Albanian 4-5 years ago and I remember a lot of what I learned. Anyways, since you already learn it...it will be easy to bring back. All you have to do is review old notes or maybe get an app (like dulingo) and refresh your memory on it from their.

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I have found this to be so true.  I have always loved studying languages.  I took both Latin and Spanish in high school - 4 years of Spanish and 3 of Latin.  I majored in English and Spanish in college; however I have almost completely forgotten all Spanish (I graduated in 1993).  Can someone give me some tips as to how to get my Spanish knowledge back quickly?  I was always better at reading and writing than speaking.  I'd like this to change as well.

Start refreshing your memory by reading magazines or the news. It's important that what you read really interests you. I keep up with my French by simply reading the yahoo news every morning before I check my account for e-mails. I would also recommend that you watch movies in Spanish with no subtitles. Get back into the swing of things in an easy and comfortable way, and soon you'll be amazed that you haven't forgotten as much as you first thought. :)

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Yes, this is so true. I took ancient Greek in college and remember almost nothing right now. Eeks  :sad:

Another interesting thing is, I studied French for several semesters in college. I only studied Spanish for 1 or 2. I never did anything with the French I learned when I graduated. But when I moved to Florida a few years after college and started salsa dancing, I started to use the little bit of Spanish I knew. And now a few years later, my Spanish is much stronger than my French. So, it really is all about how much you use it.

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Maybe Maths for me but never the languages that I've learned. It's been a few years since I've written anything in Malay but on the other day, I was required to do a translation from English to Malay and I had no problem at all. I think learning a language is like riding a bicycle, once you know it you won't forget it. Even if I get rusty, all I need is to read up on it again.

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I have found this to be so true.  I have always loved studying languages.  I took both Latin and Spanish in high school - 4 years of Spanish and 3 of Latin.  I majored in English and Spanish in college; however I have almost completely forgotten all Spanish (I graduated in 1993).  Can someone give me some tips as to how to get my Spanish knowledge back quickly?  I was always better at reading and writing than speaking.  I'd like this to change as well.

You are very right on that one, I took spanish, I was fluent in it, but since I do not apply it, I have lost all of it, I have too learn it all over again.

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This is so true, specially for languages. I learned Italian for 4 years in high school. Since I don't use it anymore now that I'm in University, I can't even put together a single sentence. It's so sad. Never make the same mistake I did. I guess you should start listening or reading things in the language you forgot to try and get your knowledge back.

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I think this saying is true to the learning process. Just like when we learn how to read and write. We keep on practicing until we get it right. Practice do make everything perfect. If not perfect it just makes everything just right.

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This is very true about a foreign language. You may have learnt the language, but without frequent use, you tend to forget words and phrases. I used to know a bit of malay back in 2001, but now I have now absolutely no clue about it anymore, I am confused trying to remember some words. On the other hand I am interacting with a few Indonesians now, so I remembers words and phrases quite easily.

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I stayed in Saudi Arabia with my family during my elementary years as well as first year high school, and we were required to study Arabic in the third grade.  Learning the Arabic language was a requisite, as we were in an Arabic country.  However, after leaving Saudi Arabia in 1994, I just couldn't bother to speak in Arabic anymore.  Besides, Arabic is one of my least likable languages.  Except for a few Arabic phrases and words, I have no desire to learn Arabic anymore.  Although lately, I started to watch Arabic channels but I don't think I'll ever be interested in learning the language.

Aside from Arabic, I even tried to study the Cebuano language.  Aside from Tagalog, Cebuano is also a Philippine native language.  But although I can understand a bit of Cebuano, as my mother is in fact a Cebuano, I just can't speak it as well.  Much like Arabic, I just couldn't get Cebuano at all.  After leaving my mother's hometown in 1997, my knowledge of Cebuano simply dissipated.

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That's an interesting way to put it!  But yeah, if you don't use it, you lose it... in this case.  Learning a language is a never ending experience, that's why you need to keep on practicing it.  I recommend you to find pen pals online to practice Spanish with via Skype, that would surely help you tons. Also try watching and reading materials in Spanish.

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I think this saying is true to the learning process. Just like when we learn how to read and write. We keep on practicing until we get it right. Practice do make everything perfect. If not perfect it just makes everything just right.

You are right!  Hence why some people seem to forget a bit about their mother language after having spend a while abroad. It actually happened to me, it's more common than we think.  I guess I'll keep on practicing my Spanish if I ever move out from here, at least read things in Spanish, watch videos and if possible speak it.

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I keep most of the languages I know! I haven't really been studying Japanese that much this summer other than watching shows in Japanese. I guess that may be considered good practice, but when you're watching something I don't think people usually focus on every thing that's being said.

I was able to have a good conversation with my cousin who just came back from a year abroad in Japan, and it felt pretty good!

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Yes it's pretty much true for some but not for me. If you really understand and rally lived the language you once studied it won't go away from your tongue and take it from my personal experience. If you just skim the surface of the language you studied then there's a huge chance that you will forget it if you don't use it often.

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Yeah for the most part I really agree on that but I don;t you can just forget what you learn, I mean sure you might get rusty on a language but not really forget the whole thing. If you really understood the language you studied by heart I don't you'll have problems with that.

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This has happened to. Me as well but luckily I studied the language long enough that at least the basics are somewhat ingrained into my subconscious. Although, I admit that I've forgotten a huge chunk of even the basics out of not having used it for nearly a decade now or even more.

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I believe this is very true. If you don't use it, you will lose it.

But there are ways to avoid that. You can engage in activities that involve the language such as TV, games, or even traveling to the country that has your language set as its main language by majority.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with this. I find whilst trying to learn french that if I stop for a while or don't have time to practise I have begun to forget things already and then have to relearn somethings taking up more time learning old things rather than moving on to new things.

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It shouldn't be too difficult for you to relearn Spanish again. You mentioned that you're better at reading and writing in Spanish rather than speaking it, so try to start out easy so you don't get discouraged, and try reading articles online (such as BBC Mundo). See if you can buy a workbook to practice your Spanish with as well, or just look for worksheets online to help you with your grammar/spelling. Also, make flashcards for vocabulary and quiz yourself on a regular basis. If you want to improve speaking in Spanish, try using websites where you can chat with native speakers via webcam, if you're comfortable doing that. If you practice on a daily basis, you should be able to relearn Spanish again, but just remember that it takes time, especially if you remember nothing.

Good luck!

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I do believe that it is true with language, if you don't use it , you lose it. Losing it may depend on whether it was your native language, how much of the language you had learnt and your age range. I think that, for axample, a child that doesn't communicate his/her native language for a long time and someone who had learnt some of the language may lose more of the language than adults who has stopped communicating in their native language for a long time.

The best way to recover all the language lost would have to be by practicing, whether from literature or by way of oral communication. The more time spent doing either of these or both, the quicker the results will be.

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OP, surely you didn't lose all of it, though? I mean, there must be a ¨base¨ point which you don't really lose. (Maybe you just need to refresh though.) I never became fluent in Spanish, and I've gotten very rusty over time, but I could always recall things I learned before. Or at least most of it.

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OP, surely you didn't lose all of it, though? I mean, there must be a ¨base¨ point which you don't really lose. (Maybe you just need to refresh though.) I never became fluent in Spanish, and I've gotten very rusty over time, but I could always recall things I learned before. Or at least most of it.

Yes, there is always a base point. You know  that once you learn something, the base always remains there even if you don' practice often.

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I definitely subscribe to this mantra; it helps me to remember that I have to be disciplined about retaining language skills. It's terrible when, after a few months-to-years without any practice at all, you try either reading/writing the language, or conversing, and then find yourself "at a road-block". You can't read, you can't write, you can't speak!

It's like you're a newborn baby all over again, refreshing yourself on "the basics", and it's almost as though you've never even studied the language! . Maybe I sound like I'm exaggerating, but that's exactly how I've felt in the past!

I believe that the best way to refresh yourself on the language is not to judge yourself so harshly. Even if you feel that the reason you haven't been practicing your language skills as much as you should have been, is that you've been a "bum", then forget that kind of thinking.

You need to approach yourself in the exact same manner as you would a new student, who has told you that they remember absolutely NOTHING from what you had taught them even a few days ago.

You might feel frustrated at first, but at the end of the day, just remind yourself that the end-goal is to "get back what you had lost over time", and "get back on the language-learning horse!"

Refresh EVERY SINGLE PRINCIPLE that you had learnt before, and then ADD TO THAT!

There are several helpful programs online that you can look to, and try to remember the same techniques that had helped you remember things like Vocabulary, Grammar, and Sentence Structures .

Also, focus on improving your "weak areas" . I see that you said you are not quite as comfortable with Conversational. Well, with the world being as "connected" as it is right now with technology, I'd encourage you to find a Spanish/Latin chat room, a friend who speaks Spanish and/or Latin fluently, and practice speaking with that person at least ONCE every other day. Let that person know that you'd like to exchange what you know about your native tongue, with what they know about theirs, and then build from there!

All the best in your journey to refreshing and fluency!

Bendiciones

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I totally agree with this statement to an extent.  I have not been practicing my Spanish as much as I should lately and I forget some words to use when I try to speak it.  The amazing part is that I still understand when someone is speaking Spanish to me.  It is like the mind does a recall thing when I hear it, but not the same recall when I am trying to remember what to say.

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You definitely get out of practice, but the neural pathways are still there.  If you really learned it well in the first place, it will come back once you get back into practice.  I have had little opportunity to practice my German since finishing second year in college, but each time I've had a chance to practice it comes right back one I get my brain back to using that information.

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