Skip to main content

How to wake up your heritage language?

I promise you it’s possible to wake up a dormant language from your childhood, whatever your age now.

Last year, Lena — who’s in her 50s — decided to revive her Swiss German so she can talk more than just about the weather with her relatives on her upcoming visit to her father’s hometown.

Together we worked out a 5-a-day menu of listening and speaking tasks that Lena’s been doing nearly every day. It includes:

  • listening to podcasts

  • watching TV series

  • learning vocabulary

  • practising dialogues

  • doing 3-2-1 speaking

as well as our regular audio messages, emails and video chats.

This mix of focused and fun activities keeps the momentum going and my feedback keeps Lena on track.

When she arrives in Switzerland next week, she’ll be able to converse with her relatives about everyday things and ask all her burning questions about the family’s past.

Sadly, it’s too late for Lena to bond with her grandparents in their language.

But she’s determined to grab this chance to gather family memories from those who are still there to tell the stories.

Need guidance in getting your heritage language unstuck?

I can help.

© Christina Wielgolawski