What I’ve learned from writing in three different languages
I remember two years ago when I sat down to write my first journal in Mandarin Chinese. I was excited to start writing with something that wasn’t the usual alphabet I grew up with. Yet once I started writing, I kept finding myself worrying about whether it was well written. Had I made a grammar mistake? What if I kept writing, but my characters were written wrongly? Would anyone be able to understand the message I was trying to convey?
Despite all of these questions, I somehow finished writing that day’s journal.
You’ve probably also had a similar experience if you’ve ever tried to write in a foreign language. It is stressing to keep worrying about mistakes you can make, and it is a struggle to find what to write about.
Writing is one of the things that we can keep practicing on our own and is an opportunity to develop how you express yourself. It is a skill that if you practice a lot, you will realize that it eventually becomes easier. The same is true for me when I started writing in Spanish, English, and Chinese.
If you want to improve your writing skills in a foreign language, here are some tips to keep in mind when writing in a foreign language!
Mistakes are a learning opportunity 錯誤是學習的機會
Don’t let writing mistakes put you down, instead, be glad that you discovered your mistake so that you can learn not to repeat in the future.
2. Think in the language you are writing in 使用你在學習的外語來思考
This is such an important part of learning a foreign language, especially when that language’s structure differs completely from that of your native language. The sooner you start thinking in that language instead of translating sentences from your native language to the other, the sooner you will realize that it becomes easier to express yourself through writing!
3. Read, read, read, and read more 閱讀, 閱讀, 再閱讀!
I can’t emphasize how important this is! Reading helped me improve my writing skills so much. The more examples you see of different writing styles and different ways of using words, the stronger of a feeling you will get for the language. Even small articles help you become familiar with expressions and the nature in which native speakers express themselves.
4. Ask your tutor to edit your writing 請你的家教編輯!
Your tutors are more than happy to help you edit your writing! They can give you a good insight into how to develop your ideas and improve your writing. Even when I write in English, I always ask a friend or family member to look at it to get a different point of view.
Whether it is an after-school tutor or at-home private tutor, they will be more than happy to see your writing and help you improve!
5. No idea how to write? Translate! 不知道要怎麼寫? 從翻譯慢慢形成!
If you have no idea what to write you can start by translating paragraphs in your native language into the foreign language you are learning. This is a great way to learn new vocabulary and get your brain busy with writing!
Do you have any tips for foreign language writing? Leave them on the comments below, sharing is caring!