How to retain a language!?
I always hear 'just 15 minutes of a language every day', 'little and often' and so on! However I'm wondering how busy people like me develop their language learning (for any languages)?
Personally I find life getting in the way a lot. I do practise languages almost daily, but all too often there will be days or sometimes over a week that I miss (which I suppose is natural??). I am enthusiastic but just tight for time, so must you study a language every day for it to develop?
Sometimes I come back to a language after just 3 days off and, especially with a language that I don't have much experience of yet, I spend the time re-learning the things I learnt last time instead of moving forward and learning lots of new phrases! (Not mentioning any names.....Turkish..)
How can I retain the information?
If you read/watch/listen to the news as part of your regular routine, switch to sources that report the news in your target language, instead of your base language. BBC World news offers the news in several different languages. I used ReadLang to help me with the words I encountered here and there that I wasn't familiar with.
Replicate this switch out process wherever possible, until the language practice isn't taking up extra time, it's just replacing the language you were already using in that time slot. :)
Have you looked at the Chrome extension Flip Word? I use it to practice Japanese vocabulary. While I am browsing in English, it will randomly change words to Japanese and when I click on it, it gives the meaning of the word. Sometimes there are multiple choice questions. I don't have a lot of time to spend on Japanese, and this way I can fit some review into my news reading time.
Personally, I find that taking a very long extended break from learning a language (in general or just from one specific language) gives the knowledge time to 'sink in'. When coming back to the language, it seems like things I struggled with before now actually make sense. Still, even when taking breaks, I do like to spend some time just listening to some music in that language. Sometimes I understand part of wahst's being sung, oftentimes not. Still, I'm having fun, I am enjoying the language and that's what important: to enjoy the languge. If you don't, your brains will simply refuse to soak up the knowledge.
Basically: constant practice is not necessary. Just enjoy the language and things will start falling into place.
A great way