This is just a brief post on a reflection I had while on holidays. We went to Scotland for two weeks, with English-speaking family. About 10 days into our trip, I got a call from someone in the Netherlands. Now, my Dutch is reasonable, and I can usually understand and make myself understood without too much difficulty. However, after only just over a week absence from the need to use Dutch, I really struggled! I couldn’t find my words, and I had trouble following a conversation that normally wouldn’t have given me any trouble.
The moral of this is that if we don’t use language regularly, we can actually “lose” language. Not only is input important for language development, but opportunities for *output* are also critical. If you want your child to master a language, you need to make sure that you create situations in which there is a need to use the language, on a regular basis.