Oh, how boring! Can there be anything more boring than repetition, in a new digital world where we’re constantly bombarded with new images, new photos, new videos, news feeds, new tweets, etc.?
But as in the illustration above, would you ever expect a dancer to learn a new dance or a new move and present the dance on stage without numerous repetitions of said move? Never.
Rehearsals are an enormous part of any act. We accept that to perform any skill well, practice and repetition is required. And lots. Language learning requires the same amount of practice and repetition as any other skill.
For many people, once you have read/heard/written/spoken a new word in a language you are attempting to learn as an adult, you may feel that you’ve got it. It’s in. It’s yours. Do you feel this sometimes?
Yet, only a few hours, even minutes after, how many times have you forgotten that same word or item? How many times have you given up at that point and thought “I’m no good at languages.”, or “I just can’t retain anything.”, or “My memory is so bad!” Do you sometimes find yourself saying that?
Repetition is core to language learning. The brain needs to become as familiar as possible with a new language. As language learners we need to trick our clever brain into believing this ‘new way’ of speaking, listening, reading, writing is quite normal for it.
Apart from the few mortals who possess a special gift for language learning, probably apparent in their own native language too, then the rest of us will need a little more effort in order to absorb the new information.
I have learnt my languages without any special gift. I was the shy one at school, sitting quietly at the back of class poring over vocabulary lists trying to commit them to memory in silence, too embarrassed to let anyone hear me repeating random words in Spanish or French.
If only the teacher would have suggested finding a private place where no one could hear and repeating the words out loud. It would have been much easier, and faster. We live and learn.
I have learned over time that with a little repetition, (or a lot of repetition) I have been able to retain much more vocabulary and many more grammatical patterns in my mind.
You can give yourself a boost to your learning and reap the rewards fast.
Repeat as much you can, whatever and wherever you can.
More next time…