Transparent Language Blog

How to Remember a Language Longer Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Archived Posts

No, this isn’t a top Transparent Language secret. It’s just plain science. Psychologists have long studied the ways people learn. Part of that study includes how people forget, too. It is well known that we start to forget what we’ve learned very soon after we’ve learned it. The trick to fighting forgetfulness: reviewing often.

Just how quickly do we forget? In 1939, H.F. Spitzer published a study about the rate at which people forget textbook materials. He found that, without review, you will forget three-quarters of what you’ve learned within 2 weeks. That’s a scary thought for anyone putting in the time to learn a language!

Time Since Learning % of Material Remembered
1 day 54%
7 days 35%
14 days 21%
21 days 18%
28 days 19%
63 days 17%

forgetting over time

The goal of repeating and reviewing is to move bits and pieces of the language from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. This process is called rote learning and it is ideal for memorizing vocabulary and some grammatical concepts, such as noun gender. But before you lock yourself away to review, here are a few strategies to review most efficiently:

  • Review early. The graph above shows just how quickly you can forget. Start reviewing within a week of having learned the words and phrases. The longer you wait, the more you’ll need to review.
  • Review often. Going over a lesson twice doesn’t guarantee you’ve learned it. Review until you feel like you’ve overlearned it. When you’re sick of seeing it, go over it one more time.
  • Take breaks! Give your brain time to absorb the new information. If you’re learning or reviewing too often, you’ll overload yourself. Reviewing for 15 minutes a day should do the trick.

If this sounds like too much effort for you to maintain on your own, Transparent Language Online’Learned Vocab refresh system is programmed to help you review the right material at the right time. Sign up for the free 14-day trial and see how much you remember at the end!

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About the Author: meaghan

Meaghan is the Marketing Communications Manager at Transparent Language. She speaks enough French and Spanish to survive, and remembers enough Hausa to say "Hello my name is Meaghan, I'm studying Hausa." (But sadly that's it).


  1. Farzaneh:

    Я хочу каждий день одна слова

  2. Farzaneh:

    زبان مادری من فارسی میخواهم روسی یاد بگیرم

  3. farima:

    Hi,I want to learn Armenian language please help me to improve Armenian language.

    I speak English and Spanish but I decide to fluently


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