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How do you activate a language that you are learning?

I know that the obvious thing is to just start talking, but do people have different techniques? We have techniques for learning, shadowing, translation methods from L1 to L2, Anki, Linqing.

I am using Assimil know a lot of the vocabulary and I am nearing the end of the book, i f i was to pick up the book i could translate a lesson fairly well but when i start to write an email in the language I am learning I find it hard to make use of all the words that I know.

Can anyone offer any advice, Steve??

Someone once said there were three steps:

Practise, practise, practise!

I am sure others will have much more detailed advice for you (but then, how many words do you want to cram into an email?)

@Tuquiero: My guess is you are right on the brink of activating! Start to write that email, and whatever words you can't seem to think of are exactly the words you need to learn/activate. Try typing it into Google Translate and see what it suggests. Refer to other online dictionaries that give example sentences so you can tease out which phrases have the meaning you intend.

I think writing (and speaking) is activation. Although it doesn't always feel like fun to be reminded of your limitations, it's exactly at that time that you learn the words that are most important to YOU.

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