Have you ever reached that point when all of that progress you were making in a language suddenly smashes up against a brick wall?
You’ve devoted time to your new language every single day but you feel like you’re making the same mistakes repeatedly and can’t figure out why. I know that feeling. In fact, it’s probably the exact reason why I’m in a constant love-hate relationship with language learning.
Because I enjoy being able to express myself in several different ways that break the limits of my native language(s). But at the same time I also find that when I hit a plateau in my progress, I become incredibly discouraged and then my motivation declines significantly. Which means I would spend a lot less time learning the language and move on to another language. Which someone on the LingQ Forums referred to as “Language Wanderlust” and what happens when you learn too many languages at one time.
I remember having approximately 122 language learning materials at my disposal back in 2008! That was way too many resources for languages that I didn’t have time to study.
How Many Languages Did You Try To Learn At Once?
Most of the resources were a bunch of Teach Yourself books but the others were workbooks, textbooks, and miscellaneous language based on correcting one’s on mistakes in the language and of course swearwords! Most of the courses were for Japanese, German, Russian, French, and Italian. The other languages I had were Ukrainian, Serbian, Icelandic, Catalan, Bulgarian, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Hungarian and Swahili.
So obviously that’s too many languages to study at one time but if you’re also interested in linguistics like I am, you could still use them to examine how each language works. However, I wouldn’t recommend it, unless your goal is to be able to have a basic knowledge in a multitude of language but not fluency.
Does Motivation Play A Significant Role?
I’m not sure if I’m lacking motivation or engaging resources to keep me motivated to keep going. Perhaps creating a concrete yet revolving study plan will be more beneficial in the long run. I’ve created various “to do” lists but nothing in depth. When do you get to the point where you need fresh content to with more challenging vocabulary. Is it making a more in depth Google search with keywords related to your interests?
When you can’t be bothered to leaf through another textbook, try doing something you find entertaining in the language. Such as reading a book, website, listening to music or watching a TV show or movie in the language (native or dubbed) and perhaps with subtitles (in your target) too.
How do you keep yourself motivated when it becomes difficult to carry on in your new language?
Doing Personal Language Challenge
If you follow any of the popular polyglots on YouTube and throughout social media, you may have heard of these various 3 month challenges to improve their language skills. Having witnessed the results of many of these challenges, I figured it’s about time for me try my hand at another one. Seeing how fun the italki language challenge was.
I’m sure I can be more motivated to improve my skills if I hold myself account and truly focus on the goal at hand without creating excuses as to why it didn’t get accomplished. Granted, some things could not have been helped (such as suddenly going from part-time to full-time for my job) but, you can still make time with time you do have which is why my next challenge is going to be much more fruitful.
Especially since someone was able to complete their 20 lessons with tutors in only 10 days! Then again, I wasn’t trying to become a volunteer translator at the Olympics either. So I didn’t have that urgency to learn 3 languages in a hurry. Which unless they are a necessity, I personally wouldn’t recommend doing. If it works for you then go for it!
Becoming Too Distracted And Learning To Unplug
We live in a world where multi-tasking has become the norm and learning to focus on what’s important (ie: Learning Languages) before becoming overwhelmed as a result of the constant notifications. It can really destroy your productivity if you’re not careful. In some way, I do feel like my productivity has suffered just from getting a notification on my phone about an email, tweet or Facebook post that I should read. After reading that post, I find something else that interests me and then I’m suddenly searching for something completely irrelevant to what I had originally intended.
Sometimes you just need to focus on one specific task and complete it before moving on to something else. There’s a chrome app which you can download called StayFocused. This app allots you a specific amount of time on certain websites before it blocks the website, preventing you from losing focus by visiting it.
Have distractions interfered with your language learning? Tell me what you do to remedy these situations and I look forward to your responses!