Friday, 15 May 2020

How to keep up language learning after living abroad (Japanese)


A sunakku bar with bicycles and a vending machine next to it in Osaka


Hey gang! Today is another post about languages and how to keep them up if you're no longer immersed. It's so easy to let a language disappear on you! I've just come back from Japan again, and I thought I'd share what I've been doing to keep my language up.

Once you get good enough at a language, you should be able to do the things you like doing in the other language.... e.g. if you like beauty youtubers, watch some in your target language. So here are a few suggestions for things to help you keep up your language

Youtube and social media// I am obsessed with fashion, and I've found loads of Japanese youtubers and influencers to follow- Youtube is so good for listening practice, and it's fun to learn current slang too. I also post on my instagram in Japanese and English ;)

books!// Start with a book aimed at children or young adults if you don't have confidence. According to my Japanese teacher, the first 30% of the book is hard and then after that it's ok :) Another tip is not to look up every single word you don't know while you're reading- make a note of them and look them up after you're done. Trying to work things out from context is good anyway and you'll progress faster if you don't stop and look up lots of words.

magazines// way less intimidating than a book tbh.

Obviously, TV shows and dramas// watching currently popular dramas is always fun because you can still feel connected to what's going on.

I think it's important to try and consume a mixture of content- social media and Youtube can tend to be mostly informal language, which is great, but with languages like Japanese where there are very different levels of formality, you don't want to forget how to be polite. Try something like a drama set in the workplace or a proper book.

Get rid of subtitles! If there are english subtitles, you can't help reading them! Try picking subtitles in the language you're watching, or just turn them off!

Find a language partner! (or just talk to your friends innit) A native speaker is obviously best, but if you can't find one, try and speak with another person who's learning the language (and is about your level). There are also apps like Hello Talk that you can use to find language partners.

Keep writing! I think this is particularly important with Japanese/ Chinese as they have Kanji, but with every language, once you stop seeing it written everywhere it's hard to keep remembering it.

Study regularly- little and often is better. I don't think you can get round having to do a little studying to top it up. Things like flashcards, or memorisation apps like memrise or anki are pretty efficient.

It also helps to set goals// I did the JLPT N1 last year and it really helped motivate me to actually study. I might do the Kanken if I am ever in Japan again....


That's all for my tips I think- let me know your advice!
Best luck with your studying, gang!! <3
Stay safe and thanks for reading -Amy xoxo

How I passed the JLPT N1//  Snapshots from Shizuoka City part 2: Chanomachi and Shizuoka after dark// Packing for a year in Japan round 2: work edition//
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