Monday, September 25, 2017

10 Things to Do If You Find Learning Languages Way Too Difficult by Rachel Bartee

Language learning is an exciting adventure but at the same time, it can be a mind-boggling process. However, it’s not a sprint race but rather a marathon. You need to invest a lot of time and efforts in this project and that’s mostly why many people find language learning way too difficult.

For that reason, only 7% of college students in America are enrolled in a language course. That doesn't mean that you should despair and give up. Remember that the more languages you know, the more human you are. With each new language you learn, you enrich your personality and extend the borders of your self-awareness. At the same time, language learning even boosts academic achievements

Bearing all these things in mind, you should never give up trying to master a foreign language. Here is my list of the 10 most practical things that can help you while studying. 

Start Off Slowly

The easiest thing you can do while learning a new language is to give up because you plunged into learning and exerted yourself too quickly. What you should do is to prepare yourself for a long studying period and don’t expect huge improvements in the beginning. Be patient and learn gradually. 

For example, you could begin by learning only a dozen basic words each day. This may sound silly but you’ll actually learn a lot of words that way in only one month. After all, keep in mind that it takes only around 500 words to reach the A1 language level.

Set Clear Objectives

Whatever you do, you should set the personal objectives and follow the plan you have created. It’s the same with foreign languages – you should decide how long it will take you to become fluent or how many words per month you would like to learn. Additionally, you can narrow down the focus. If your mission is to become a football coach in France, you can start simply by learning the sport-related expressions and phrases.

Practice Regularly

Our brains often resist new things or things that we don’t want to let in. The same is with a new language. This seems like the unfathomed deeps you may be afraid of. However, after several repetitions our brain starts to accept it as something familiar, something that is usual and common. So the clue is making it regular and regular practice makes perfect in everything. 

Combine Reading with Writing

Reading is one of the essential activities in this process. Seeing the language working in context helps you grasp it more effortlessly. You should take a few books or magazines and read them every day. Of course, don’t engage in heavy philosophy at first but instead begin with the simplest texts that more or less match your current knowledge. While reading, you can always stop, consult a dictionary, and check the new words. Dan Wilson, a writer at, you should write a small review or summary of what you read using the key phrases and structures in the book. This activity really upgrades your knowledge. So try it out!

Join Online Communities

In the Internet era, it's easy to find a lot of interesting online groups where language students exchange opinions and ask others to help them while learning. The good thing about this is that you can find many people who used to be in the same position like you. They'll understand your confusion and explain things even better than real-life tutors. At the same time, you won’t feel ashamed to make mistakes in front of the peers, which is a common problem among language students.  

Play Online Games

Today, many courses in all areas of expertise accept gamification elements as the natural part of their syllabus. Games are interesting and keep the students engaged, while it is very easy to adopt new knowledge using this mean of studying. Online language games can help you big time to develop language proficiency, so make sure to use this learning method. It won’t feel like you're really studying but you'll gain a lot of knowledge in the meantime.  

Listen to Music and Watch Movies

You probably enjoy listening to foreign music and watching dubbed films. This is a great way to learn a foreign language because it really makes you relaxed. You don’t have to understand everything and you can always look up any word you find important. You can learn new phrases and adopt the accent and pronunciation of native speakers.

Furthermore, music and video materials are great tools to find out more about the culture of any given country. This is an important step in the language learning process. The best thing is that you can choose the genre you like so it won’t feel like too much of a burden.   

Engage in Conversations

You can't master a foreign language by avoiding one-on-one discussions and group conversations. It always feels awkward when you stand in the middle of a group and don’t exactly know what is going on but this is the phase that you must go through. Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat something or even to re-phrase their sentences. If you want to learn, you'll occasionally need to swallow your pride and be ready for some confusing moments every now and then. 

Test Your Knowledge

With all these steps being taken, it's obvious that you're going to make good progress. Testing your knowledge every now and then is a great way to see how you're improving. There are a lot of online language proficiency tests that you can take for free so don’t hesitate to check them out. They don’t take too much time but they can give you an additional incentive to keep improving.

Reward Yourself

There is one more way to nurture your learning enthusiasm: promise yourself a reward once the studying is over. Buy a ticket to visit a foreign country or organize a party. Whatever makes you happy will be a nice incentive while learning.

Language learning is an inspiring process but it also brings a lot of obstacles. In this article, we made a list of 10 interesting, effective, and practical ways to make the language learning process easier and more reasonable. Using these tips, you can overcome the most common difficulties that may occur along the way but feel free to give us your own suggestions in comments. 

Rachel Bartee is an ESL teacher and a freelance writer who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. Her life principle is “Always do more than you can”. Get in touch with her on Twitter.


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