There are times when Arabic learners have to pause in person language sessions. This most frequently occurs for people learning Arabic at our physical location in Amman, Jordan, when they have to travel. Whether you are away for a couple of weeks, or a few months, these tips to maintain your progress will keep your Levantine Arabic skills fresh.
Your best strategy by far is to continue taking sessions online. Our nurturers are amazing at delivering Arabic sessions online. Wherever you are in the world, in nearly every time zone, we have this option to keep you progressing, even when you are not in Amman, Jordan.
In the early phases of language learning, it’s important to have consistency and not take long breaks without hearing and using the language. Just like your muscles loose strength if you stop exercising, your ears and tongue need continual practice to stay in shape.
How do I keep from regressing if I can’t take sessions at the moment?
There are times when Arabic learners can’t take sessions in person, or online. This doesn’t mean your language has to stagnate. These four tips below will help keep your skills fresh and deepen what you’ve already learned.
#1 Listen to easy recordings.
Give your brain a break by reviewing things you understand fully. Go back to simpler audio; those you listened through a long time ago. This reminds your mind that you’ve come a long way. It gives the brain an opportunity to focus on aspects of speech you may have overlooked as you were primarily focused on the meaning of words that came up in stories months ago. Listen now for grammar and parts of speech that are easier to hear now that the vocabulary has grown in familiarity.
#2 Habit stack.
Build listening to recordings you fully understand into your daily routine. You habit stack naturally in your daily routine when you remember to brew coffee and then feed the dog and open the windows and then take a shower, etc. Create a habit of listening to your favorite stories while brushing your teeth, taking your morning run, washing the dishes after breakfast, etc.
#3 Create a goal chart.
It works! Everyone loves stickers or checkmarks. Set a goal to listen everyday for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. Make it something reasonable that you are likely to do without skipping days. Give yourself a reward when you reach a certain milestone like dinner at your favorite restaurant or a massage.
#4 Resist silence!
Listening is not enough in and of itself. Your tongue will believe it can’t remember how to speak Arabic if it’s been weeks since you have spoken. It’s a no-brainer, but it’s perhaps the most forgotten practice. Don’t just repeat each sentence of a story recording you’re listening to. Pick key sentences and practice saying them multiple times. Choose sentences that contain a speaking pattern you want to get better at using or a phrase that you might use in everyday speech. Work on it again and again until it rolls off your tongue easily.
When you return to full time language learning, it’s easy to feel like you’re rusty. It can take a week or so to get back in the swing of things again, reactivating all that you know. That’s natural, especially if you’ve stopped exposing yourself to spoken Arabic for weeks at a time.
Following these tips can keep you from feeling out of practice because, in essence, you have been practicing and reinforcing all that you’ve worked hard to learn the entire time you are away.