If you are learning a language as an adult you are either doing it because you want to or you have to for work. Either way it makes no sense to go to the trouble of enrolling on a course and not putting in 100 per cent and this is why you should make sure you study daily. It may seem like a chore at first but remember why you are doing it and how you want to be able to speak fluently/confidently/in work situations at the end of it and that will give you added impetus.
Set Aside a Portion of TimeDo not try to squeeze in your practising at any time you can manage it, you must give it proper care and consideration as you would any other task. This means setting aside a regular portion of time every day when you do your studying. It may be before work when you are fresh or after a soak in the bath when you are relaxed. It could be when the children have gone to bed and the house is quiet or on your lunch break when no one is the office.
Whenever you choose to do it, try to stick to it, as it will make it easier. The time you set aside does not need to be several hours – it need only be half an hour, especially at the beginning. If you are teaching yourself initially, then do a lesson a night from your book. If you are taking classes, then practise what was taught in the last class and look over the work for the next one.
Work it into Your RoutineIf finding a whole half hour every day does not seem possible then work it into your routine. You really do need to study daily – this is the only way the words and phrases are going to lodge themselves in your mind. Why not take a tape or podcast with you to the gym and listen to French or German phrases while you work out?
If it is a work scheme, spend your coffee break chatting with a work colleague who is also learning. Put CDs with phrases on in your car so you can listen to them on the way to and from work. The idea of studying daily is to immerse yourself into the world of the language you are learning, so this is what you must try and achieve.
How Children LearnPeople who are truly bilingual – and this includes children who speak two languages from the time they open their mouths – speak it every day. Children who speak two languages often have one parent speak one language to them and the other, the other. This is how they pick them up and this is why you must practise daily. Other people who become bilingual later in life have usually spent a considerable amount of time living in a country where their second language is spoken. And so, to become truly fluent, this is what you must do – study daily.
Studying daily should not be a chore – learn to love it. Look forward to the new phrases you will be able to speak, and enjoy returning to class each week that little bit more prepared to speak the language. No one is suggesting that you play the class swot, but as an adult you have a choice over whether to do this or not, and having taken the opportunity, there is little point in not grasping it with both hands.