Putting effort into maintenance

General discussion about learning languages
94000d
White Belt
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:53 pm
Languages: English (N)
x 3

Putting effort into maintenance

Postby 94000d » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:53 pm

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)?
1 x

User avatar
tarvos
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2826
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:13 am
Location: The Lowlands
Languages: Native: NL, EN
Professional: ES, RU
Speak well: DE, FR, RO, EO, SV
Speak reasonably: IT, ZH, PT, NO, EL, CZ
Need improvement: PO, IS, HE, JP, KO, HU, FI
Passive: AF, DK, LAT
Dabbled in: BRT, ZH (SH), BG, EUS, ZH (CAN), and a whole lot more.
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/fo ... PN=1&TPN=1
x 5663
Contact:

Re: Putting effort into maintenance

Postby tarvos » Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:50 am

Not that much, really - we're talking about high levels where you can understand and use the language very well. I don't need to do much to maintain my German of French, just use them every so often. I've never calculated the hours, I'm not that kind of gal.

It's just easier to use them in practical situations, though - I might listen to a random podcast or read a book in them or something of the sort.
1 x
How can you "just be yourself" when you don't know who you are?
Stop saying "Yeah, I know how you feel."
How could anyone know how another feels?

Is a girl.

94000d
White Belt
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:53 pm
Languages: English (N)
x 3

Re: Putting effort into maintenance

Postby 94000d » Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:17 pm

Given an equal amount of time practicing speaking at B2/C1 and maintaining speaking at B2/C1, what is the difference in expended energy?
0 x

gsbod
Green Belt
Posts: 490
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:22 pm
Location: UK
Languages: English (native)
German (C1)
French (B1)
Spanish (A1)
Japanese (N2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=1152
x 1439

Re: Putting effort into maintenance

Postby gsbod » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:46 pm

My apparent ability for German fluctuates depending on how much I've been using it. I'm a confident C1 if I've been using the language regularly. If I leave it for a few weeks, my ability drops and I will give the impression of being more like B2. However, it only takes a few days of using the language for me to feel like I'm C1 again - so compared to the several months it took to get from B2 to C1 in the first place, it's not so bad.

Edit: in terms of maintaining speaking, there seems to be a lot of synergy between how much I've been listening to German recently and how well I can speak it.
4 x

sillygoose1
Green Belt
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:25 pm
Location: USA
Languages: _
NA: English
C2: French
C1: German, Italian, Spanish
B2: Russian, Portuguese
A2: Japanese
A1: Mandarin
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=751
x 603

Re: Putting effort into maintenance

Postby sillygoose1 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:13 pm

French is by far my best language. The most I've gone without using it at all is probably 5-6 months or so. It may take me a season of a TV series or a 250 page-ish audiobook to get me back to my strongest point although I've noticed my reading skills never diminish. This is why I'm so comfortable with leaving French for months at a time to focus on other languages.

As long as you are at a reasonably high level and don't let the language wither away for years at a time like some heritage speakers then maintenance shouldn't be much of an issue.
6 x

User avatar
leosmith
Blue Belt
Posts: 657
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:06 pm
Location: Seattle
Languages: N:English
~C1: Spanish
~B2: French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Thai, Tagalog, Swahili
x 1473

Re: Putting effort into maintenance

Postby leosmith » Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:47 am

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.
11 x
https://languagetools.io/ - try our free multi-language reading tool

User avatar
Axon
Blue Belt
Posts: 640
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:29 am
Location: California
Languages: Comfortable: German, Mandarin, Indonesian.
Rusty: Spanish, French, Russian.
Also: Cantonese, Vietnamese, Polish.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5086
x 2365

Re: Putting effort into maintenance

Postby Axon » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:00 am

I think nothing of leaving my German or Spanish for weeks or months on end without thinking in either once. I know if I need to really perform well, it'll just take a few days of quality immersion and active study to get them back up to a level approximating their peak. I've left my Indonesian for much longer, and I'm just reaching a point where I'm starting to get a bit concerned again for my active vocabulary and want to give it a bit of a boost.

I haven't gone more than three or four days in two years without speaking, reading, and hearing some amount of Mandarin, usually upwards of two hours a day. To be fair, most of that isn't active study and I still have a long way to go, but it certainly makes me feel like I could leave Mandarin alone for quite some time without maintenance.

The rest of my languages have been more or less at the same levels for several years. It's stuff like Kunming Mandarin, Swedish, Lao, Romanian, and Hokkien, all relatively new-to-me languages that I never got to even a basic level in, where I lose passive ability if I don't keep them up. I'm sure I could still understand Kunming Mandarin about as well as I could while living there, but I used to have a much clearer "sound picture" of it in my head than I do now. It would probably take me a few hours spread over a few days of reviewing my friend's recordings and watching some videos in Kunming Mandarin to get it back.

In my experience reviving my German and Spanish, it takes very little effort to remember old vocabulary once refreshed, but it does take an effort to comfortably speak complex sentences. Active speaking and writing seems to be the most time-efficient method for me.
6 x

joshbrown
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:32 am
Languages: English (N), French (beginner)

Re: Putting effort into maintenance

Postby joshbrown » Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:36 am

tarvos wrote:Not that much, really - we're talking about high levels where you can understand and use the language very well. I don't need to do much to maintain my German of French, just use them every so often. I've never calculated the hours, I'm not that kind of gal.

It's just easier to use them in practical situations, though - I might listen to a random podcast or read a book in them or something of the sort.


That's basically what I was going to say. It's quite easy to keep it on this level.
0 x
You should check out rush essay service. It's really good.


Return to “General Language Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests