#5. Practising all four skills equally

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

By the time most of us finish school, language learning has remained mostly theoretical. Bar the occasional listening/comprehension activities and rare opportunities to speak in front of the whole class, which is never fun, most of our time was spent doing grammar exercises and rote learning.

Learning a language means practising all four skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – equally. For our brain to acquire language, it needs to recognise a word when coming across it on a page and in a conversation, in order to be able to then either write it or speak it.

If your car only has two wheels you won’t be able to drive it far nor well. And, most likely, you will soon stop trying. Similarly, if you only know how to write and read a word, you’re unlikely to either speak it or recognise it when you hear it.

On the other hand, if you practise all four skills consistently, even if it’s half an hour a day, you will soon make progress and drive your car, slowly at first but, gradually, as you grow more confident, faster and faster.

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Don't hesitate to send me your questions about language learning.

#1. Is it too late to learn a language? #2. Not knowing the word is not the end of the conversation

#3. Is learning vocabulary lists a good idea?

#4. Should I use bilingual books?

#6. On the importance of making mistakes

#7. You know more than you think you do