How to learn a language by writing

A step-by-step writing technique for language learning

In my last “technique” post (here), I told you about how writing helps me (and then can also help YOU) learning a language . But when you are an Absolute Beginner, starting to write can be as problematic as starting to talk.

Sometimes you are afraid of the blank page. Sometimes you don’t know where to start. Sometimes you just don’t know what to write about.

Where did my words go?

You learnt your vocabulary flashcards carefully, but when it comes to writing, you can’t put a sentence together!
It happens to me all the time.

You lack the words order in a sentence, you don’t know how to conjugate the verb…
Work on it, and then build your sentence.

I can’t write everything I want to write

It is common sense but, whatever your level in your target language is, don’t put yourself too much or too far away from your actual level, or you will fail inevitably.

Use the vocab you know with a new sentence structure. Re-use sentences you know are right with new vocabulary you just learnt or in a text with new sentences in between.

Don’t forget to get a feedback

Else you won’t make any progress.

You need to know if what you write is correct or if you need to revise. Nowadays it is easy to get feedback from native speakers.
I write notebooks on italki very often, and people are very eager to help you get better.
You can also find language partners on italki  or HelloTalk, and text/email/pm your new friends in their language. Often it is in exchange of your expertise in your own native language, but it is only fair 😉

 

Write things according to your level

Now is time for a quick step-by-step list of ideas of what you can write according to your level in the language you’re learning.
Another post about “writing ideas” in general is planned. Here, it is more to be conscious of your limits depending on your level.

Beginner

  • Useful sentences:
    “thank you”, “good morning”… or longer expressions like “nice to meet you”, “you’re welcome”…
    Or even quick questions like “what is it?”, “how much is it?”… and try to answer it (with the bunch of vocabulary bouncing in your head)
    EX: ICELANDIC#4 
  • Easy sentences with the vocabulary you just learnt:
    “I have a fish” “my cousin has a cat” “do you have a dog?”
    “I like/ don’t like umbreallas”
    “do you often eat at the restaurant?” …
    EX: ICELANDIC#2, HUNGARIAN#3
  • Easy sentences to learn a specific grammar structure or conjugation:
    EX: ICELANDIC#8, JAPANESE#1, JAPANESE#7
  • Talk about you, your family, you interests… first at present tense, and then at past or future tense
    EX: HUNGARIAN#5, HUNGARIAN#10

Most important thing: use short sentences. Don’t make things complicated if you don’t feel like it. This is what I do with my Little sentences series.

Intermediate

The sentences become longer and more complexe. You can use relative subordiantes for example.

Advanced

That’s when you begin to have fun.

You can write whatever you like! Your only problem is to know what… (blank page syndrome!!)

You still search for words obviously, but things are getting easier.

 

What do you feel like writing according to your level?

 

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