8 Ways to Pick Up Learning a Language After a Break

When learning a language most people find they have to take a break from study at some point. This may be unavoidable if you become too busy with other things happening in your life or it could be through choice – maybe you lose motivation and study for less and less time each day, week or stop altogether. However, this is not always a bad thing as a break can be a good way of taking stock of where you are with the language, what you do know, what you don’t and what you need to work on.

The aim of this blog post is to help people who have taken a break from learning a language get back on track with the language.

Why did you quit?

To start with ask yourself why you ended up taking a break from the language. Was it because you had other things going on in your life and just did not have the time to study? Or was it due to a problem with how you were learning the language? Or did you just lose motivation and focus. Depending on your reason, you can put in place measures to avoid this happening again.
For example, if you lacked study time, this time around you may need to organise your time better, delegate more tasks to other people – colleagues or family members, get up half an hour earlier or think about how you can incorporate learning during the day – listening on the way to work, using an app whilst waiting for meetings and so on.
If it was because you lost motivation, you need to think of ways to keep you interested in keen to learn. We will go into this in more detail later in this post.
If it was because you found the resources boring, say you were using the same materials, textbooks, audio then you would need to find new resources and learning methods.

Change focus

If you felt you were spending too much time focusing on learning tricky grammar rules and memorising vocabulary and lacked the opportunity to put what you were learning into practise then you should try to create opportunities to use the language more. For example, writing a daily diary entry, writing a blog, Instagram post, finding a native speaker to chat to regularly.

Use authentic resources

Maybe you felt you were relying too heavily on material intended for learners rather than authentic material in the target language. In this case, try to focus more on authentic materials such as real magazines, newspapers, news channels, Youtube channels that native people listen to and read.

Use different methods

If you found you were studying with reading and writing too much rather than listening and speaking then change your study techniques. Instead of using a textbook, use a language learning app such as Babbel, Duolingo or Rosetta Stone.

Set a deadline

Sometimes people stop learning because they feel they know enough to get by on holiday so what is the point of continuing learning. If you have something to work towards then you are much more likely to continue and progress further. You could register for an exam so that you then achieve a recognised qualification that you can include on your CV and tell people about. This is proof that you have reached a good level in the language. For example there is the DELE exam for Spanish learners organised by the Cervantes Institute in Spain. You could even sit the GCSE or A-level exams or an Open University course.
You could book yourself on an immersion course abroad so that you will definitely want to continue with the language as you won’t want to be sitting in a classroom of people and not understanding what is going on.

Start by refreshing the basics

When you first decide to go back to studying the language it is a really good idea to start by revising the basics. It may seem tedious but by doing this you will find that it will be much easier to grasp more difficult grammar and vocabulary later on. Also it reinforces what you already know. You may even notice things that you missed the first time around. It won’t take long either.

Speak with natives straightaway

There is no better way to stay motivated than if you regularly meet up to chat with native speakers. If you don’t know someone already you can easily meet people who want to help you learn on italki or Hellotalk. It is the ideal opportunity for you to put into practise what you are learning so that it will feel worthwhile and it is a great way to feel like you have accomplished something when they understand you and you know you can hold a conversation with a native speaker of the language.

Take lessons

It may seem expensive but taking some lessons with a qualified tutor is a wise investment of your time and money. Lessons with a language tutor will have a more structured approach than a language exchange session. Although your language exchange partner may be fluent in the language and great to practise conversation with, they may not be able to explain things about the language that you are struggling with.