What’s the first skill you think about when the idea of learning a new language comes up? We’d bet that the most common answer is “speaking!” Being able to speak a new language is what drives the majority of people to start learning. They love the way Italian or French sound, or they want to explore the exotic hues of distant languages like Korean or Japanese.
The image above is from Angel Falls, Venezuela! Visit our log in page to see amazing images from every country on the planet.
✍️ Writing skills are often overlooked
Many seem to believe that speaking should be pursued even at the expense of other skills, especially writing. The truth is, however, that writing skills can offer you a lot when it comes to boosting your speaking level. Research by Pamela Rausch published in 2015 shows us as much.
We often think we’ll never use our target language in its written form unless we’re pursuing it at a higher academic level like a master’s. This just isn’t true, however. Writing has so much more value than academic drudgery. So, where is this value?
1.) Writing forms a reviewable record
The trouble with speaking is that it can only be recorded in a way that’s not so handy for review. You can record your conversations with your native speaker teacher, for example, but you’ll find that hard to quickly refer to. Written records, on the other hand, are easy to glance back at and reinforce key concepts.
When it’s time to review speaking content, your writing practice gives you an accurate, complete and easy-to-understand resource from which to train up your pronunciation and sentence structure.
2.) Writing reinforces sentence structures in your mind
Following on from this written record idea, writing is also an excellent way to reinforce linguistic structure. When you learn by speaking alone, it can be hard to identify clearly all the constituent parts of the expressions you’re learning. Writing them down and practicing those sentences through writing helps you to better understand the exact makeup of the content that you’re speaking.
3.) It’s another channel for us to use our target language
Time with your native speaker teacher may be limited each week. Some learners only spend one hour per week with their online teacher, making that a precious experience. Writing is something you can practice almost anywhere and anytime, so it’s another great way to make use of new vocabulary and expressions.
Remember, using the content you learn is the key to long-term recall. When we learn a new word, we can feel so sure that it’s locked into our minds. After a week of not using that word, however, it’s amazing how hard it is (if at all) to recall the word. Writing a journal each day, for example, will give us that critical reinforcement. The journal content may also provide great talking points for your class with your native speaker teacher.
4.) Writing helps us to form more complex sentences
One frustrating thing for intermediate and advanced learners is that they often struggle to translate the complex mother-tongue thoughts in their minds into a second language. We get trapped by our own syntax, from time to time. Writing can help us solve this problem.
Start by writing the “core” of your sentence in your second language. Then study the sentence to identify the points where you can insert new adjectives, adverbs or other modifying vocabulary. Grow the sentence step by step:
Core – The road is long.
Step 1 – The winding road is long.
Step 2 – The winding road through the forest is long.
Step 3 – The winding road through the dark, spooky forest is long.
This works with almost any language. Regular practice with such construction, over time, helps us more easily build these sentences in our mind as we rely less and less on the writing stage. Just another way that writing helps our speaking.
🥝 Don't overlook the core skills
An important truth when it comes to language learning is that no skill --- speaking, reading, listening or writing --- should be ignored. Sure, you might prioritize one over another, especially when you have a specific goal in mind, but they are all important and useful. These skills form a kind of self-fueling loop of progress. Nurture each one, and you’ll find it feeds the others and boosts your overall ability more efficiently.
🎉 Get started!
Are you interested in really, finally learning a new language? Here at LanguageConvo we connect you with a professional, native-speaking teacher for affordable, customized private lessons. Get started with a 100% free trial lesson by clicking here.