Read to Write, Listen to Speak
Skill order for better learning
Keywords < language skills – reading – writing – speaking – listening >
Learning a language can be seen as a challenge from the outside. Have you ever asked yourself: Why are there so many words? What about this grammatical rule? Do I have to learn this tense? The answer is simple: it depends on your goal.
When you decide to learn a language, you generally have a goal in mind. Your why if you may. So how do you determine your why? Simple, ask yourself why am I learning this language? How much time do I have? And what is the ultimate result I am looking for at this end of this time period? Is it purely a grammatical test or is “une production orale/écrite”?
If you have a grammar test to enter a certain course, then you can focus on your grammatical skills. The way to do this is a clear schedule of the grammar lessons you may encounter in the test and as many practice exercises you can find: these can be online, from a language learning book, ask a native friend or better yet, get yourself a teacher to help you out.
Now remember that these goals need to be realistic! While high expectations can be a good fuel for your motivation, you need to keep it grounded which means your language goals need to be reasonable to your time frame. You cannot just say “I want to be a native in French in a week”! Remember that EVEN native speakers have been studying that language since the first day of school and they STILL are. Language learning is a work in progress. You always learn, you continue to grow, to improve and enlarge your knowledge skills, be it in vocabulary, culture or other domains.
So what’s the main rule? How do I approach my language goals?
Answer: Step by step. To make it easier, there is a rule of thumb in terms of the language skills you want to work on and that is: If you want to improve your writing, read more and if your focus is speaking then listen more. You have “une production écrite” coming soon? Read everything and anything that comes in your way. Choosing topics similar to your theme is preferable and beneficial as you will learn more vocabulary. You also get to familiarize yourself with the structure of the writing, the spelling of the words and much more etc.
“I have to speak!” then listen in the language you’re learning. TV, radio, music, conversations etc. You name it and it’s there. It’s 2020 which means that technology has left us no room for excuses. My favorite trick is listen to the radio in the language you want to improve for 20 minutes first thing in the morning. Be creative, you can choose the channel, the country, the accent but keep the time and your routine. Having the language on the background as you wake up, brush your teeth, make your coffee and dress up HELPS A LOT!