Spanish Language Blog

Learning tip: the power of repetition Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Learning

Hey, everybody, how’s it going?

Repetition can help you learn a foreign language and it doesn’t have to be boring. Here’s my story!

After meeting my friend Frank, from Germany, in the US last year I decided to start studying German again. I’d been studying it off and on since my teens (early 90s) and I decided to take another approach. I already knew how German grammar worked, sentence structure and what I needed was vocabulary and get used to listening to German again.

I also decided not to buy any more books and use what I had in my library so I picked this book with 61 situational dialogues and I started working with them. I also decided to learn them thoroughly and I had in my mind that I would rather take longer and retain the information that I was studying than learn things half way.

I got myself an old notebook with lots of blank pages and I wrote one of the twelve sentence of the dialogue in each page. I would write the whole dialogue down every single down every single day, even on weekends. As I am not used to writing anymore (I type a lot!) sometimes my hand hurt, but I kept on going. What I also did was to listen to the audio track, three times.

At first I was frustrated that I couldn’t make out the words so I slowed it down, using Windows Media Player. Before trying to pronounce the sentences I listened to them a lot. Another thing: when I was halfway through the first dialogue (half page down), I would write another dialogue and study the same way.

And here is what I have been noticing about this experience:

– I don’t have to speak super fast. I need to make myself understood and get my point across.
– I get better results when I focus on one thing for a shorter period of time. If I try to study more than 20 minutes a day I lose focus. (That’s just me, ok?)
– When repeating the dialogue lines orally I chunk it down. If the sentence or word are too long (trust me, German has some very long words) I do a kind of backchain drilling exercise. I start at the end then go back to the beginning and I will not stop until I get it right.
– If I make a mistake, I try not to overlook it (something I used to do in the past).
– Learning another language takes time and a lot of effort, so reviewing and repeating play a major role in doing this.

You can try and study Spanish this way too, it’s another option to make the most out of your coursebook or online courses.

Do you have any more studying tips you would like to share with us? Leave your suggestions in the comment area! Have a great one!

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.