Keeping Up a Language in Lockdown


Katie Kirkpatrick

Keeping Up a Language in Lockdown

For those of us hoping to start a languages degree next term, it can be tricky to keep up fluency without the regular engagement of lessons. However, I’ve found our current situation a welcome chance to explore the language outside of the A Level syllabus.

As my degree is primarily literature based, I’ve been focussing on trying to maintain and improve my reading fluency. With a group of friends, I’m reading La Peste by Camus, which offers a striking parallel to our current situation. Book clubs can be a really great way to keep in touch with friends while also having interesting discussions about your reading.

In terms of film and TV, something I’ve really enjoyed has been watching foreign language shows with both English subtitles and English dubbing  - sure, you don’t hear the language, but spotting the differences between the two translations can be so interesting, and often makes it possible to work out what the original line was and why the two translators chose different versions. It can also be really fun to watch your favourite films or TV programmes dubbed in the language you’re studying; often the voices are really different, and it allows you to revisit something familiar and see it through a very different lens.

I’d also recommend thinking about how you can incorporate your language into the things you enjoy doing that would normally be separate. Personally, I really like writing poetry so I had a go at writing a poem in French and signed up for an online workshop on poetry translation.

Take this opportunity to remind yourself why you chose to study a language!