What I’m doing to maintain my Vietnamese

As you may have guessed from the fact I left Vietnam a while ago combined with last week’s post, I’m currently brushing up on my French after seven(!) years of neglect.

What does this mean for my Vietnamese? Well, I’m taking a step back from active study and just maintaining my current Vietnamese level. I don’t want to lose any momentum during this study break, because it is just a break, so every day I’m practising some Vietnamese in some way, shape or form.

But what exactly does that look like?

Skyping with friends

On average 5-6 days a week (total 8-10 hours)

This is the best thing as it keeps me using Vietnamese. However, I’ve noticed I’m already slower at recalling vocab so I’ve had to boost my activity in other areas too. Eventually I want to find new people to practice with as I’m aware that my friends are used to the way I speak.

Revising vocab with Anki

On average 2-4 days a week (total 20 mins)

I’m not adding new cards but simply keeping up with the vocab I learnt in (2 of) my classes. I keep forgetting to review more often, but I’m mostly up-to-date so around 5 mins every few days is more than enough.

Reading short articles

On average 1-2 days a week (total 30-45 mins)

How much time I spend on this mostly depends on how often new articles appear on my favourite sites or if friends share something interesting on facebook. I usually try to read these intensively but less so now I’m reading a lot of French. Of course, I do read a few emails too.

Watching Quà Tặng Cuộc Sống

On average 1 day a week (total 15 mins)

I love these short animations and don’t watch them as often as I should! A lot of the time I can understand them fairly well, but sometimes they go over my head. I watch these for pleasure, without doing any language work.


On average 2-3 days a week (total 30mins-1 hour)

Again this includes emails, which I am trying to be less lazy with as I usually don’t write the tones and accents because it’s quicker that way. If I have something interesting to write about, or if I’m not writing loads in French, I’ll write something, get it corrected on lang-8 and go through the corrections.

What that looks like

Amazingly it seems that I practice all four skills most weeks! Admittedly sometimes I’ll go a couple of weeks without watching something or intensively reading something. I should probably spend more time on decent input, but at least I’m still getting practice.

In total I spend about 10 hours a week, on average, maintaining my Vietnamese. Mostly through Skype chats which are so easy to keep up with as they’re enjoyable! Even during my busiest weeks this summer, I managed at least 4 hours a week chatting on Skype.

How I maintain my Vietnamese level each week

Over to you: How do you maintain a language you’re not actively studying?

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