Have you ever noticed that acquiring language always seems to be a time consuming process, yet losing level happens in the blink of an eye?
This phenomenon has puzzled linguists for decades and it is important to know why it occurs and how it could affect your language learning. A language is like a living thing, it constantly changes and adapts according to how it is used, and also by whom. This is because a language is an art form; therefore it needs to be learned as such. There is no exact formula for learning it and it cannot be retained in the same way as scientific facts or historical dates for example. Learning a language involves forming a language web so that the learner can access knowledge in a flexible and agile way, because of this without practice, these links can be lost and thus, fluency is also lost. It is clear that there is a need for consistency in order to master a language and also maintain current level.
The best way to create a language web and achieve a good grasp of a language is through the use of mnemonics (HERE) and to develop strategies that work for you, see our example of a technique to build vocabulary.
To avoid becoming rusty in a language, learners should incorporate English use into their daily lives, and also accept that there is a need to use English daily (HERE) in order to maintain level. This should not be seen as a chore as it should not always come in the form of studying. It could be simply listening to a song, writing an email or having a friendly conversation. Even thinking in English counts!
So from this post, you can see a clear need for two things in language learning, CONSISTENCY and VARIATION. As soon as the learner accepts that a language is not something that you study, but it is much more than that, it is something that you live! It is learned through experience and the formation of experiences in said language, the more effective their learning practices will become. With a daily contact with English, the learner will never have the sensation of being rusty in a language or the feeling of feeling out of practice.