Learning a new language (in retrospect)

It has been a little more that two weeks since I left Germany and moved back to Oslo. I still can’t believe that I am not going back to bab.la. I thought it would be simple and relaxing to move “back home”. But after living in Hamburg for more than a year I am, unbelievably enough, experiencing language immersion in my mother tongue, Norwegian! The first days I kept saying words in German and often I couldn’t seem to come up with the Norwegian one at all. My mind was playing serious tricks on me. I guess I should be grateful I learned German so well that my mind kept functioning in my new language. The question is what to do when this stops happening? Because as time passes, Norwegian becomes my “first language” again! How am I supposed to maintain my German skills now?

Previously I wrote about 5 Creative Ways to Practice your Foreign Language Skills. What I realised after moving back to Norway is that my perspectives on learning and practising a new language changed. I forgot how difficult it is to find ways to practice when not living in the country where your new language is spoken. Although I have all language settings in German on all electronic devices, read German news when I can, listen to German music and deal with German speaking customers at work – I still feel that German is starting to slip more and more as Norwegian is back to dominate my brain again. It’s terrifying. I realised how incredibly important it is to maintain and practice to keep a good level of confidence and vocabulary. At the moment I’m probably slightly paranoid but this also made me realise how important my language skills are to me. Learning a new language is some hard work! And I feel like I owe it to myself to practice and maintain it. First thing next week I will post a tandem request and rent some German books at the library. Maybe I will finally get a grip on der, die and das…

One thing is for sure, I will definitely go visit Hamburg and my dear friends at bab.la the moment I can. And I will speak German the whole time, because I’m going to be better than when I left 🙂


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