What if I stop studying my language for a while? Will I lose everything?

It’s been a while since I’ve written here. Not sure why. I have always told myself and others that the most important thing in language learning is consistency. And while that is true, I think this long gap in my writing and a recent break from language learning specific activities illustrates that there is something even more important than consistency — commitment. The commitment is what will bring us back after long gaps, very much like a relationship with a great friend.

For me, I often go a few months or almost a year without talking to some of my closest friends. We have this mutual understanding that we are and always will be close — and when we do talk again we pick up like nothing has happened. Although I have been using Korean everyday and continuing to do our English/ Korean bilingual SpongeMind Podcast, I haven’t spent anytime studying the languages I’m working on at the moment — Indonesian and Spanish. I spent about a year working on Spanish and got to a basic level then lost steam. I recently started Indonesian since I will be spending a few months there in the near future but in the midst of all that we needed to do to move out of Korea, my studies have fallen by the wayside. Then yesterday I just picked it back up again. And it felt like nothing had changed. Not only that, but most of the words I had learned were still there. I saw a Mexican friend recently and spoke Spanish with him and it too was still there. My albeit limited Indonesian vocabulary was still there when I jumped back on Memrise. It was very comforting to know that even after a few months, my good friends hadn’t forgotten me.

And so I wish this for you all as well in your language learning journeys. When there is a long gap in your studies, perhaps it is not that you quit for a short time and might pick it up later. Rather, its just that you are so committed — such good friends with the language you are learning that you know it won’t ever leave your life. It’s just there, waiting for you to come back and say hello… and pick up right where you left off.