94000d wrote:Once you reach a certain level (say B2 or C1), how much hard effort does it take to keep a language at that level? That is, how much energy does it take compared to when you were learning the language (while practicing speaking, for example)?
That's a good question, and probably varies greatly depending on many different factors, so I will just share what I'm doing right now. I'm maintaining 9 languages, all of which I believe are B2/C1. Some are better than others, and thus require less maintenance. I study Spanish/Thai once every 24 days, Japanese/Mandarin/Russian/French 12 days, Korean/Swahili 6 days, and Tagalog once every 2 days (mainly because I'm also writing a textbook for that language tbh).
Because of my time consuming writing activities, I'm not "learning" any new languages, so I'm experimenting with the optimal period for each language. How do I know when the period is too short? I struggle having an impromptu conversation in that language, and sometimes experience interference.
I'll relate an experience I had with Swahili. I learned the language 20 years ago to a B1 level, then dropped it completely for 17 years. Last December I relearned it for 3 months, with techniques I'd acquired since dropping it, to prepare for a trip to Tanzania, and reached a low B2 level. Tagalog, my newest language, suffered really bad in the mean time; terrible interferrence from Swahili. After coming home from Tanzania, I put Tagalog on a 2 day schedule and Swahili on a 12 day schedule. Tagalog recovered in about a month. 6 months later, Swahili was in pretty bad shape, so I switched it with Tagalog. After only 2 sessions, Swahili was fine again and started to interfere with my Tagalog once more. So I put Swahili on 6 days, and Tagalog 2. I'm fortunate enough to have the flexibility of changing my schedule to optimize these right now.
What do I do in my maintenance sessions? Conversation, reading some text that also has audio, watching part of a movie/TV show. I write (scriptorium) in my languages that have different scripts. With my weaker languages I may also study grammar, write an essay, etc. I typically spend 2-3 hours total.