Learning a language after a break – tips for getting back on track

It’s OK to take a break

With apps that push streaks, YouTubers showing their highly productive morning routines, and social media pushing hustle culture, it’s easy to start to think that we need to perform at the same level of productivity each day. 

I’ve found that my energy levels and mental health differs from week to week and I can’t have the same day or same week in terms of language learning results. For that reason, it’s totally OK to take a break. You can completely stop learning a language and no one will judge you for it. You do you.

Chinese notes on a notebook

Falling behind in a language is a very common experience when learning a language. Not everything happens on a straight road.

Life gets in the way sometimes and before you know it, a lot of time has passed since you last practiced using your target language. There is still hope though!


Not all is forgotten

It may feel discouraging at first when you think you might need to start from scratch after a long language learning break, but that’s not the case. Re-engaging with content you once engaged with will be easier to absorb, remember, and solidify in your long-term memory.

Ease into it slowly

Don’t overwhelm yourself with brand new textbooks, level tests or resources when starting out again. Rather go through your old notes and see what you remember. Start with what you have.

Review your notes

Take a highlighter and go page by page, highlighting the words and phrases in your notes that you don’t know. Ask yourself which words and phrases you can start reintroducing into your speaking practice again, and which ones are a bit too advanced for you at this stage.

Find a tutor

Taking a lesson with a tutor or doing a language course to refresh your knowledge can be very helpful to get you back on your feet. I personally love doing lessons through Lingoda and iTalki, which are great apps with tutors who are more than willing to help you!

Listen to the language

Listen to podcasts in your target language, or watch series or YouTube videos just to name a few. It’s helpful to listen to content you enjoy when getting back to learning a language, because you’re more likely to keep exposing yourself to more content.


Have a conversation

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Language exchange partners and friends are great people to practice speaking with! Make sure to create a space where both people in the conversation are happy with the speaking terms, whether you plan for half the time to speak in your target language and the rest of the time in theirs.

Read as much as you can

Graded readers are great resources to use to get back into learning a language. I have a number of books I personally recommend on my Amazon store, if you’d like to check them out!

Break your language learning into small goals


Use a language journal to plan simple goals that you can achieve daily. Be careful not to be too ambitious when you set your goals.

Are you trying to get back into a language?

Leave a comment below to let me know how you’re approaching this!




3 responses to “Learning a language after a break – tips for getting back on track”

  1. Trailblazer Avatar

    I’m thinking of seriously starting language learning again, but I didn’t know how to approach reentering it and had feelings of discouragement and fear of disappointment. I came across this article right when I needed it. Thank you so much!

  2. Ari Avatar

    Hi Lindie! Before, I would learn my language goals but when quarantine came and I was living in a toxic household, I became depressed. I had to put a pause on my studies. It hurted to not keep going for my dreams, but it was necessary to recover. Lately, I’ve been planning on which languages should I re-learn from scratch, can’t wait to start over again!🥰 I strive to be a polyglot like you Lindie, you’re awesome.🤩

  3. Frankie Avatar

    I’m starting again in Spanish to finally get thru the B2 plateau. Thank you for the wonderful information and motivation.

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