How Writing Skills Can Help You Master a New Language

by Jonathan Emmen

Most people who learn a new language do so with the goal of being able to speak that language. They may wish to learn the language for work purposes, to further their education, to travel, or just for personal development. Learning to read in a new language can also be important, but it is usually not prioritized over speaking the language. Learning to write a new language is rarely a consideration for most of us. After all, writing in a new language does nothing to help us hold conversations. It does nothing to help us improve our expressive or receptive language communications skills, does it?

The answer is yes. If you develop your writing skills in a new language, you will increase your competence in speaking that language as well. You will learn the new language at a faster rate, and you will you will understand that language at a deeper level than you would have if you only focused on speaking, listening, and reading. This increases greatly if your writing is personal to you. For example, keeping a diary or journal of personal experiences is more beneficial than simply going through language writing drills. In fact, there are five excellent reasons you should incorporate writing in any language learning program you undertake.

1. Writing Allows us To Learn The Same Language Concepts While Engaging New Senses

It has already been proven that the more senses we engage in the learning process, the more likely it is that we will learn concepts and have those lessons stay with us. For example, if you learn a rule of grammar and apply it over and over again by saying words and phrases aloud, you will slowly learn that concept. However, if you add writing, both the further repetition and engaging new senses will increase your understanding and your retention.

2. Writing and Speaking Are Both Expressive Forms of Communication

When we are speaking or we are writing, our brains perform many of the same task. This is because writing and speaking both involve forming a message and then expressing that message. The simple fact that the message comes out of our mouths in one case and onto a piece of paper in another doesn't make much of a difference. Think about this. What happens when you try to form a thought that you intend to speak? If you are like the majority of people, you figure out what you are going to say by mentally saying those words to yourself. What happens when you try to form a thought that you will write down? You do the exact same thing! Even better, when writing, we don't have the added pressure of another person waiting for us to respond or waiting to respond to us.

3. Journaling Helps us Develop a Personal Connection to The Language

Any time learning becomes personal, it becomes more enjoyable, and the lessons we are trying to learn have more traction. This is why the combination of writing in a new language, and writing things that are personal to us is such a powerful thing. We aren't just writing from language books or software packages designed to teach language, we are writing about things that are important to us. Because of this, we are more likely to spend more time learning and more likely to stay fully engaged when we are learning. Finally, writing in a journal helps you to commit to the learning process, something that is difficult even if you normally manage your time properly.

4. Writing Gives Us a Concrete Way of Evaluating Ourselves

If you keep your journal entries (you should!), you have a way of tracking your progress. If you have kept it up for a while, you should see some amazing differences in your writing skills from the time you start reading to the present. You will also notice that the rate at which you form a thought and then get that thought down on paper has increased significantly as well. This increase in ability and in speed will also be reflected in our ability to speak in your new language of choice as well.

5. Native Speakers Can Use Our Writing to Provide Concrete Suggestions

It is always helpful to get feedback from a native speaker when learning a new language. They can hear things that others cannot, even non native speakers who have a very strong grasp of the language. They can also clue us in on the language nuances that occur in every language, and that are very rarely included in text books. Unfortunately, most of us don't have a native speaker who is able to be with us every step of the way as we learn to speak in a new language. It would be nice, but it simply isn't practical. However, if we are able to get feedback on our writing from native speakers, the benefits are numerous. After all, several pages of writing can represent months of language learning. Better yet, when we receive that feedback in writing, we can hold on to it and review it as needed.

If you are ready to embark on the journey of learning a new language, try to find a program that allows you to combine reading, writing, and speaking. You will find that you learn the language more quickly, and that each lesson that you learn will become more meaningful to you.

About the writer

Jonathan Emmen is an experienced writer from, who's primary working with lifehack, education and language learning themes. When he is not writing, he will be found in movie theaters, pre-viewing films before they are released or "pub crawling" with his friends.

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