Language On Your Own: Self-Study Tips – Part 8

This is part 8 of a 12-part series.

This time it’s personal

There are four language skills you want to build, to become fluent in another language:

  • Speaking
  • Listening Comprehension
  • Reading
  • Writing


A skill to help you learn and remember.


If you practice all four skills, you will learn faster and better than if you target only one or two. Why?

Speaking requires listening to correct speech and writing with correct spelling to nail correct pronunciation, which strengthens reading.  That uses all four skills, right there!

Some claim that reading and writing are unimportant to Indigenous tongues, because they were oral traditions.  But writing words and sentence patterns strengthens the memory of proper language, and consistent spelling supports correct pronunciation in speaking. So reading and writing are very important to those doing self-study.

Remember why making your own flash cards is a terrific way to practice vocabulary?

Writing matters.  Spelling matters. Sentence patterns deliver meaning. All of these feed your short-term and long-term memory.

Even people who learn through full cultural immersion make errors unless they practice reading and writing.

Make the language personal

Language research shows that people tend to learn a language faster when they talk about things that matter to them.  This is why you should always try to personalize your learning — make the language your own.  Write sentences about things that matter to you.


Our basketball team made it to finals!

Grandmother needs my help tomorrow.

This song is dedicated to the one I love.

I want to train horses when I grow up.

Even small achievements feel great!

Consistent practice with your daily learning routines is extremely important – not just for your vocabulary, but for you!

Learning new things every day feels great. You are achieving something!  Besides healthy self-esteem, sticking to daily learning routines also builds self-discipline and character.

Even better, your short and long-term memory improves with this kind of disciplined practice.  Chances are, you have become a better learner and thinker in other areas besides language.

Has your viewpoint about the world changed? Creating different kinds of sentence patterns in an Indigenous grammar stretches your capacity for thinking beyond your earlier habits.  You can use this same skill to find different ways to express yourself in English, too.

Eventually you will wake up one morning to realize that not only you can speak an Indigenous language, but that in some ways you have become a different person.

In this way, learning an Indigenous language can be a life-changing experience that affects every part of your life.

Okay, maybe you feel you haven’t gotten there yet. Go on to Part 9 – we’ll look at language-learning frustration and how to get past it.

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