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Can you regain a Language after many Years?


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So, when I was four years old my family moved to France and we remained there happily for 5 years. Eventually, as a child, I knew both English and French quite fluently while living there, but we had to move back 5 years later due to many reasons I won't get into. When we left France to live back in England, I was extremely fluent in speaking French but did struggle on the academic side of it (writing etc) while my sister was the opposite (amazing in academics but weaker in speaking it). However, when we came back the education (Primary School - Secondary School)  I did have French lessons but it was so basic and weak that it didn't even benefit me, it was essentially a repeat of the basic sayings e.g ''hello'' ''I live such & such''. When I was going into my GCSE's I did beg my school to put me in for French since I lived in France for 5 years (this was 5 years after living in England) and the information could come back, but because I didn't 'ace' a test they gave me to decide whether I would go into a course so they didn't let me (Got like 21 out of 35 which to me is impressive since they never bothered with me unlike my sister who at 12/13 got an A* on her GCSE'S). 

So my sister still has her French at a fluent level, along with qualifications at a University level, with the addition of her Japanese. I'm sitting here and I don't have a single French left in me and it makes me sad? So basically, is it possible for me to re-learn my French that I was so fluent in years ago (8 years when I was fluent) and if I can, what should I do? Start from scratch? How long would it take till I was near fluent? Unfortunately, I can't do any education in French since I don't have the GCSE to do it at A level so that is not an option.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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  • 4 months later...

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It's hard to advise because I don't know what age you lived in France, and what age you are now. But for starters, immerse yourself in the language as much as possible outside of school. Practice conversing with an italki tutor on skype, or a free language exchange partner. Watch French films, read French books, write a little in French every day, or maybe text your teacher/language partner. Do that for a while, and you will eventually recover your old level. How long it takes to reach "fluency" depends on your definition of "fluency"  and a lot of other things, so I can't guess without a lot more information. Good luck!



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