One great way to stay fluent in a language is to meet regularly with other speakers. Spanish speakers can create a tertulia, a social gathering with literary or artistic overtones. Or, to keep abreast of your German, you can start a Stammtisch, a “regular’s table” or “regular get-together.”

Such groups may already exist in your town. In Seattle there’s a long tradition of Stammtischen that meet weekly to converse in German, Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch, Czech, and Greek (check here for details).

Or you can create your own tertulia from scratch. It’s easy. I know a couple of my fellow islanders, for instance, who can’t make it to Italy as often as they please. So every now and then I invite them to join me for an afternoon of tea and Italian conversation. It goes something like this:

“Ciao, bella!”

“Ciao, bella! Come stai?”

“Bene, grazie. Vorresti che ci incontriamo per parlare italiano questa settimana?”

“Sì, certo! Quando?”

“Questo giovedì alle due?”

“Va bene. A giovedì! Ciao!”


Then I brush up on my vocabulary, and off I go.

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