Tips for Successful Summer Language Learning


  1. The first tip for successful language learning is to receive maximum input from as many channels as possible. My primary objective was to be able to express myself fluently in everyday conversations in Swahili and to be able to do this, there is the need to expose myself to the language- my mentors, and online and offline resources.
  2. Engage with different types of resources to keep up interest in the language. With the topics that I selected to be able to engage in everyday communication, I selected materials that best suit my needs for different occasions. For example, when I am on the move and don’t need maximum concentration, I use the Ling/Memrise, When I don’t want to use as much effort, I watch YouTube movies on Swahilihood, Swahili Fairytales, or other random YouTube videos or TikTok, and when I am in serious learning mode, I use the textbooks/CD, or any other resources previously identified with other study modes.
  3. Consistency in Everyday Practice: The advice here is that let no day go by without engaging with the language. With my goal of being able to express myself in everyday conversations in Swahili, I would say that I have to a great extent, been able to talk about basic conversation because studying everyday makes you use some of the expressions earlier learned and there is always something new to add to this and fresh topics to start with.
  4. Test yourself by giving yourself tasks that may not directly be focused on a planned learning activity. For example, read a random extract or watch a short play, have a random talk with your mentor and see how much you are able to comprehend and use the language.
  5. Meaningful Engagement with mentor/language partners. Make sure that every meeting with mentor reinforces your learning and that you ask important questions about how the language works in certain contexts.
  6. Monitoring Progress by reviewing at strategic times. It is good to review the previous day’s lesson before moving to a new one especially if they are related. My lessons in many ways build on previous lessons and I find myself revisiting and adding more to the vocabulary of earlier lessons. It can also be done during the weekend or at any other scheduled time. Apart from assessment, this tends to sustain motivation.
  7. My other goal is to grasp the basic structure of the language in terms of grammar and use of different sentences. I learned some of these structures at the start of the course. This was helpful, and I have come to build on this grammar knowledge while focusing on other content areas.