Monday, April 17, 2017

How to Motivate Yourself to Learn a Language by Francesco D'Alessio

Motivating yourself to learn something new can be daunting.

Learning a new language can be very scary when you are just getting started, let alone going further into the language. Everything from meeting native speakers to travelling might frighten and demotivate you. Motivation is something you need whenever you start something new. Whether it's a new job or a new project, or even a hobby, motivation is key to persistence and achieving your goals. 

We’ve put together a few recommendations for how to maintain your language learning when things get tough.

Picking a language to learn

One of our recommendations is to pick a language that you are interested in. It can be rough when you start learning a language but being passionate about the language can help to drive you through harsh times. 

Try and pick a language whose culture you enjoy, or a language that's spoken somewhere you'd like to travel to and you like the sound of. All of these will help to form a better drive to conquer the language. 

Take the language-learning plunge.
How to get motivated

Motivation is very individual. Something that motivates one person, won’t motivate another. 

Despite there not being a recipe for everyone, here are some of the best ways to learn a language. These recommendations come from top language learners and teachers who have mastered multiple language and continue to pick up even more languages.

Small chunks — Learning in small segments might be a better method of acquiring a language. The short bursts of learning across your day can provide you with more actionable learning notes to keep refreshed as you go about your day. Whether it’s 10-minutes of French verbs before bed or listening to a podcast before bed, all of these small chunks can make up the bigger picture of your language learning journey.

Exposure — Being exposed to a new language can keep you interested in the language. Watching a movie, or a podcast can really inspire you and increase you chances of adopting the language in your day-to-day routine. Exposure is a great way to learn and can become a very effective learning tool. Another trick is to find a celebrity you like that speaks the language and watch videos of them speaking, it’ll inspire you for sure. 

Persistence —  With the majority of things in life, persistence pays off. Maintaining a daily language-learning routine will help improve the chances of you continuing and practising it in real-life situations. When it’s getting tough, avoid ditching the efforts and write down as many reasons to why you should learn the language, this’ll help motivate you. Be persistent when you focus on a new language! 

Your sole focus — Many people try learning two or three languages at once. You might find someone who can do this but chances are that one sole language at a time is more than enough. Make sure that the language your main focus to help improve the chances of you conquering it. 

Alongside motivation there are many other variables, like your day to day situations. Remember that if you are willing to keep everything going, you’ll be able to fine tune your efforts towards acquiring a new languages. Don’t stress too much!

Avoiding Procrastinating

A classic example of studying involves some form of procrastination, whether it’s visiting Facebook for 10-minutes or making yourself the 5th tea of the hour. Procrastinating is something many language learners will probably relate to. 

Procrastinating can sometimes be valuable when it comes to learning, as it gives your brain a break from all of the intense studying going on. Planned procrastination is always a good tactic to implement when you are learning a language. 

But there is such thing as “productive procrastination” which when used in the right way can increase your exposure to a language whilst retaining the steady pace of learning a language. It might sound impossible but can be done. 

Try using YouTube or Netflix to improve your language skills. Flick on a few minutes of a Narcos episode on Netflix or even a YouTube tutorial for your Spanish. These multimedia approaches feel like avoiding the work, but they all contribute to your study of language. This will give you a break from the intensity of pen and paper and keep you exposure to the language strong. 

All of these methods have been used by learners and have proven results. Remember that all your studying and routine is individual to you, so making sure 

Let us know if you struggle with motivation when it comes to learning a language, we’d love to hear your stories and whether you found anything helpful when it came to moving forward and making progress.

Francesco D’Alessio works as a Community Manager at FlashSticks, the creators of new language learning application, FlashAcademy. He loves to learn new things, runs his own YouTube channel on technology and apps and works with a few other tech startups too.