Writing is a skill that takes practice, and it becomes even trickier if you’re writing in a foreign language. Suddenly a process you found easy takes on a whole new level of difficulty. But don’t worry, there are ways to improve your writing skills in a new language.
1. Read a Lot
Reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary in a new language. You will also gain a better understanding of its grammar rules, which will improve your writing skills. Pay attention to how punctuation and spelling are being used, and make sure to read material that is similar to the style of writing you are interested in improving. Reading is also a good way to learn idioms, (which can make up a large part of a language) but this can prove challenging. Learning about idioms is a good way to give your writing some flair and make you sound like a native speaker.
2. Have a Native Speaker Edit Your Writing
It’s always a good idea to have someone edit your writing, but it’s especially important when you’re writing in a language you’re not familiar with. Languages contain subtleties that even someone who has studied for years may not pick up on, so you’ll want a native speaker to help you. Usually it will be something that doesn’t sound natural, and it might not even break a grammatical rule.
3. Try Thinking in the Language as You Write
Have you ever tried thinking in the foreign language as you write? Be sure to give yourself lots of time if you go in this direction, because it will take a little longer. It will be worth your time though, because you will have fewer errors in your writing.
4. Start With Small Pieces
“If you’re just starting out, begin with a short and simple piece of writing. Just write things for yourself, you don’t have to show them to anyone else. You might find it easier to pick a topic and write a paragraph or two about it,” advises Mark Thomas, ESL educator at Boomessays. Start slow and simple and work your way up to longer and more complex writing pieces. A journal is a great way to practice writing in a foreign language. Write about your day and one interesting thing that happened to you. Write a short story or a poem. You could also write a letter to a friend or a celebrity—you don’t have to send it! It’s just good practice.
5. Improve Your Writing with Online Tools
Writing in a language you are unfamiliar with can be challenging, so don’t be afraid to get some help from the professionals. Here are some good resources to get you started:
#1. ViaWriting and WritingPopulist - These are grammar resources you can use to check over your writing for errors. You might be unfamiliar with the grammar rules of the language you’re learning, so get some help if you need it.
6. Remember that Writing is a Process
Even in your native language, writing is a process. Don’t be hard on yourself if you feel like you take a long time to write in your new language. Remember the elements of writing, such as structure, format, organization, and brainstorming. These are all important to the quality of your piece. Don’t rush, and remember to use these elements just as if you were writing in your native language. The better you are at writing in your own language, the easier you will find writing in a foreign one.
Learning a new language can be frustrating, especially when it comes to writing. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to make this process easier. If you read a lot, have a native speaker edit your writing, think in the language as you write, start small, use online tools, and remember that writing is a process, your writing will improve dramatically.