This is something that’s been on my mind lately(seeing as NaNoWriMo is just around corner). I realise that it becomes an after-thought for it. Even though, I have been doing a series of blogs called: 「日本語でブログを書くシリーズ」for my Japanese. I still wonder how I can incorporate it into my regular language learning routine. Here are some ideas I will be using the next month.
I find it easier to write about a specific topic (preferably one that interests me or that is useful to my fluency or what have you when using the language.) Even if it’s just a question of “What do you think of X?” and then writing your thoughts on that particular theme. Thus, improving the way you express your opinions in your target language.
What’s Something You Like To Discuss On A Regular Basis?
Make a list of topics that you personally discuss on a regular basis. Try expressing them in your target language in a similar way as you would in your native language. This may require a bit of creativity in order to achieve depending on your current level in the language. In additional to words and phrases that are untranslateable to and from your target language. Luckily, you have sites like italki, LingQ and Lang-8 which offer corrections from native speakers of texts you have written.
What if what I want to discuss is not something many people want to correct for me?
There are situations where you may want to discuss something that is not generally accepted by society or considered a sensitive topic (Tarot, Religion, New Age, Politics, Sex, etc.) Always look up the rules or regulations of certain websites/forums to make sure it’s okay to post it. Otherwise, you could easily find yourself banned. Which is definitely not a good idea to say the least. A suitable alternative is to search for online communities, forums, etc that discuss those topics without restriction.
This will allow you to get corrections from native speakers who are interested or passionate about that topic. Which would enable to discuss something you love in your target language and discuss it in a similar to how you would normally express it. Even if you can’t express it perfectly, at least you will be able to get your point across. Isn’t that what we all are looking for when learning a language to fluency?
Write a Blog Dedicated Entirely to Your New Language
I did this for years with my Japanese discussing my daily life in Japanese mostly, although I’ve included words I’ve learnt as well. It was semi-consistent for a while and it was thanks to an ex-friend and a native speaker friend to keep me motivated to practise my written Japanese. However, as time went by I stopped updating it as often and then go for several months at a time without updating it.
The downside to this is that if you’re not getting any corrections for your writing, you aren’t going to improve. Which is what an ex-friend pointed out with blog entries I was writing. The major problem was that I wasn’t making myself understood in the written language. Which could make it unintelligible to a native speaker to figure out what you’re trying to express.
A good practice for this is to get your writing corrected through a site like italki and then post it on your language practice blog.
What do you do to improve your writing skills in a foreign language? Do you use these tips? Do you have your style that’s not mentioned here? I’d love to hear from you! Happy Halloween/Samhain!