Language Learning Checkpoints

Hey guys. Having watched a lot of Steve’s videos I know he talks a lot about having to stop studying lots of languages for long periods whilst becoming totally inthralled by a new language. Having watched his most recent video he mentioned that his Czech is not a language of his truly “anchored” into his mind, and this is something I’ve thoughts about a lot.

Having now studied spanish for going on two years, I’ve recently started Portuguese but sometimes am unsure of how to balance the study, or how to study portuguese whilst keeping my spanish “topped up” as it were. I do sometimes think that if I continue to want to study more and more languages years from now it’s going to be very hard trying to fit in 25 minutes a day for each language to try and keep them all “topped up”. I remember during my time in spain I was away in Hungary for 2 days without any spanish study and even then I felt slightly rusty when I came back after the weekend.

This is why steve’s idea of having a language “anchored” had me rather intrigued. I mean, how do you know when you know a language well enough to be able to leave it for a while without doing too much damage to what you have studied. I know that having stopped my Danish studies almost a year ago now I remember not a lot of what I studied at all, and sometimes I wonder if this would happen with my spanish if I completely stopped for a month or two whilst studying another language. It would be interesting to get some thoughts on this topic. :slight_smile:

Well, I know I can leave French for any amount of time, and I’ll always be able to understand it. I feel like there is a little French part of me. I’d imagine I could lose some active ability after a few weeks of inattention, but it will always come back.

In French I have easily a C1 or C2 passive level. I have been (sort of) exposed to French most of my life, even if I only started speaking a year ago. I speak probably at a B2 level.

I’ve been curious about my Hebrew lately. I remember being able to understand it as a little kid, then I went about 12 years without giving it any attention; litterally not hearing it all. A couple years ago I met an Israeli girl at a friend’s house, and I could sort of understand the gist of her side of the conversation on the phone with her family. When I read certain Hebrew texts now, it seems about as familiar to me as any Romance language. If you were to ask me how to order a Falafel, I’d have no idea.

Brain-wise, language anchoring is a weird thing.

Another note: My mother is a French native speaker, and after more than 30 years in the US, she has trouble writing e-mails and the like in French. Her French has more or less been reduced to a conversational level. She’d be lost in a professional setting, I think.

Do languages anchor? Yes. Can you keep them from deteriorating with disuse? No.