There are four main skills when it comes to communicating in another language. These are reading, speaking, listening, and writing. Of course, these pillars intersect with one another. You can’t have a conversation without both listening and speaking, but there’s no denying that writing sits a little bit on its own.
When it comes to writing in a new language, not only will you want to be correct grammatically, you’ll also want to make sure your words and sentences have flow, make sense, and convey the message you’re trying to send in the way you’re trying to send it.
Let’s dive into some tips that can help you become a better writer in a foreign language.
When it comes to reading, writing, speaking, or any other kind of practice in a foreign language, there’s no doubt that you’re going to make mistakes along the way. And there will probably even be embarrassing moments when you say something you didn’t mean to say.
The trick here is not to beat yourself up about what you did wrong, but to treat the situation as a learning opportunity to get things right the next time. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you’re hard on yourself about them, you’re only going to be disheartened learning in the future.
The best way to practice your writing, or at least a great way to improve your skills, is to do lots of reading in the language you’re trying to learn. Through this, you’ll be able to not only improve your grasp of the words of the language, but you’ll also see good examples of things like sentence structure.
“Make sure you read a variety of content, whether this comes in the form of books, blog posts, website content, movie subtitles, menus, novels, and more. All of the content you read will help you get better when it comes to writing your own,” shares Marie Arnold, a teacher at Essayroo and State Of Writing.
Getting someone who is a native speaker in the language you’re writing in to edit your work can be one of the best things you can do. This way, you’ll have an expert who can point out not only what you can work on, but also highlight what you’ve done well.
These are both essential when it comes to refining your practice of writing because there are going to be things you’ve learned that have exceptions and variations only a native fluent speaker will be able to tell you.
It doesn’t matter whether you get a language tutor or teacher, a friend, or even get to know someone on the internet who can go through your content; as long as they know how to speak the language, you’re going to get better.
There are plenty of websites, apps, and platforms out there that are designed to help teach you a new language, so use them! Take time out of your day to learn about the grammar and sentence structure of your preferred language. The more time you take to learn, the more you’ll know, and the more information you’ll retain.
This final point is perhaps the most important. If you’re not practicing your writing, then, of course, you’re not going to get any better. You can read posts like this and read up on grammar as much as you want, but if you’re going to get better, then you need to take time to try it out for yourself.
“That being said, not everything you write needs to be corrected or edited or looked over by a fluent speaker. Even checking your own work over and finding mistakes can be a great way to learn and get better,” explains Ben Harper, an educator at OXEssays and Paper Fellows.
Also, try writing in different formats. You could write your diary or journal entry in another language. Write an email. Write a letter to someone. Write a blog post. Experiment in all different ways so you can get a real feeling for the written language itself.
Need to pick up new vocabulary in order to try your hand at writing in another language? Check out Drops, where you can learn more than 2,500 words in 41+ languages.
Katherine Rundell is a writer at Academized.com and UKWritings.com. She writes about improving writing skills and helps people around the world discover new passions. She is also a manager at Do My Assignment.