September means going back to school/ work/ university after the summer holidays. It might be that you’ve taken a break from language learning too.
Sometimes with learning a language, you can be incredibly motivated to begin with, but then life gets in the way and by the time you remember about your plan to learn Japanese you feel like you’ve forgotten everything!
I myself have taken breaks away from learning Japanese – here’s what I do to ease myself back into the language.
- Writing: Writing in my journal helps me to use vocab and grammar I may have forgotten – I tend to use this as the basis for my grammar study, ie. I will go back over a grammar point if I’m not confident in using it anymore (especially if I’m not working towards the JLPT).
- Listening: Listening to podcasts helps me set my brain into ‘Japanese mode’. You might find that watching a TV show or film helps with this too.
- Reading: I’m using Anki to help get my vocab and kanji skills back on track, together with reading articles on NHK News Web Easy.
- Speaking: Speaking is probably the hardest to practice when coming back from a break. I suggest building your confidence by talking to Japanese friends about topics you are familiar with at first – focus on what you can say rather than what you cannot say.
Here’s a few key things to bear in mind after having a break:
• Don’t be afraid to go over ‘easy’ material.
• If there’s something that doesn’t make sense in the resource you’re using, try to find an explanation somewhere else.
• Make sure you have a goal to work towards. Having a goal, however small, will remind you why you decided to study the language in the first place.
Remember, language learning is much more about the journey itself than the destination – having a couple of stops along the way is nothing to be ashamed of.