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5 Practical Ways You Can Use Afrikaans Every Day

5 Practical Ways You Can Use Afrikaans Every Day

Few things are more discouraging putting in the work and effort to learn a foreign language, only to not use it for a while and forget a large part of what you studied. Once you have a good handle on a language it’s not hard to practice it so that it stays in the forefront on your mind.

In this post we’ll take a look a 5 practical ways you can make Afrikaans a part of your daily life so that you don’t forget the language.

Enjoy!

1) Use language exchanges

The idea behind a language exchange is that you find someone who fluently speaks your target language and is also learning your native language. During the exchange you spend half the time speaking in the language you’re learning (in this case Afrikaans), and the other half in the language they’re learning (if you’re a native English speaker this will probably be English).

This kind of exchange is a great way to practice your speaking skills and cement the material you’ve learned into your brain. One thing I love about practicing through a language exchange is that your language partner is a fellow language learner.

They will be able to sympathize with your struggles and even give you some insightful tips from their own personal experience. Most major cities will have at least one meetup or language club where you can practice languages with people from around the world.

For many reasons Afrikaans is an interesting language, but sometimes it can be find hard to find people who speak it. If you can’t find a local exchange, or there are no Afrikaans speakers in your city, you can connect with native speakers through online language exchanges. There a numerous free sites that allow you to search for users based on country and language and have a text, audio, or video practice session. Two notable ones are Wespeke and Hellolingo.

2) Immerse yourself digitally

Most phones, laptops, and apps will allow you to change the language of their interface. Why not change it to Afrikaans? This simple change may seem small and inconsequential but it can actually be an effective way to reinforce your use of the language.

You see your language skills are like a muscle. If you use them on a regular basis then your skill in the language will be in top shape. The more you use it, the easier it is to remember it. However if you go for long stretches without using the language, then you might have a problem. Those linguistic muscles will start to atrophy before too long and you’ll notice a drop in your language ability.

Simply changing the language on your electronic devices won’t equate to any heavy lifting in a foreign language, but it could be comparable to a warm up or quick workout. Remember that you probably use electronic devices everyday. If you can use at least some of that time thinking in Afrikaans each week that’s a huge step toward keeping your knowledge fresh.

Another powerful tool for digital immersion is Google (Afrikaans version). If you’re like me than you might google things more times than you can count every single day. Why not search for your answer in Afrikaans? This can be a fun and practical way to practice the language, and most times it doesn’t feel like practice at all. Have you ever searched for one thing on the internet, got side tracked, then after 20 minutes or so you realized you’ve chased a rabbit trail that has nothing to do with what you searched for initially? Imagine doing all that in your target language!

teach others

3) Teach others the language

You don’t have to be an expert in Afrikaans to lend a hand to another language learner. Helping a beginner through the language will not only make you feel good about helping someone out, it will also help you use the language and keep your skills sharp.

Remember those language exchanges we talked about? Well what if you looked for other Afrikaans learners so that you could help them in the language. Don’t worry if you don’t feel qualified to teach the language. They’re not looking to get their PhD in linguistics.

Most likely a new learner would appreciate someone who’s been down the road before, someone to show them common pitfalls and shortcuts. Have you ever been a newbie in something and been graciously helped by someone with more experience? Pay it forward and be that expert to someone else. Your language muscles will thank you for it.

keep a journal

4) Keep a journal or blog in Afrikaans

Writing out your thoughts in a foreign language is one of the best ways to sharpen your skills. It forces you to take time to construct sentences and it will reveal your weak points very quickly. Journaling is also one of the easiest and cheapest ways to practice. All you need is a pin and a notebook (or a laptop).

If you’re not the journaling type don’t freak out. You don’t have to write an autobiography. Simply recounting your day or describing an experience will be enough to get your language juices flowing. The entries can be long, but they don’t have to be. This exercise is flexible and can take any shape you want.

I recommend writing short daily entries and posting them online for native speakers to correct. This way I can hold myself accountable to writing regularly, and I can be sure that I won’t develop any bad habits in the language because the natives will set me straight.

My tool for this sort of practice journal is Lang-8. It’s a free site that allows you to post an entry and have it reviewed by native speakers. The site is free to use. Though it is also a good a idea to spend a little time editing the entries of other people who are writing in your native language. The more articles you help correct the quicker your entries will get looked at.

entertain yourself

5) Entertain yourself in the language

Books, movies, Youtube videos like AfrikaansPod101 YouTube channel, Afrikaans learning websites like AfrikaansPod101, music…..the list goes on. There’s a ton of media out there and you’re likely to find some that’s in Afrikaans. You already relax and amuse yourself in English. You might as well do it in the language you’re learning too.

Final thoughts

Learning a language is hard, but remembering it doesn’t have to be. These ideas are here to help jumpstart your brain. These aren’t the only way to practice your Afrikaans. Do your best to use the language on a daily basis and make it a part of your everyday life. Remember all languages aren’t just spoken…they’re lived!