There’s something about fascinating about learning languages that has gotten me thinking about different ways we can motivate each other to learn languages. You have an objective with learning a new language or multiple languages but there will be times when hit plateaus in our learning where are not making speedy progress like we did in the beginner’s stages of learning a foreign language. I remember a while back on a language forum, someone mentioned that B1 (Lower Intermediate) was the most difficult level to progress forward on from. It seems like that this stage you can have basic conversations and get the gist of what you read or what others are trying to tell you. But there is something standing in your way of achieving your language learning goals.
Why Are You Learning Your Target Language In The First Place?
Remind yourself why you’re making the journey to learn your new language. Is it to be able to understand your favourite TV series or animé(fellow Japanese learners I’m looking at you!), be able to further your research skills beyond your native language or perhaps to travel to a country that speaks your target language fluently or natively. Or does it have a more personal connection to you? Such as it being a language of your ethnic background, maybe it’s to reclaim a family that was lost over generations or something about the language(s) connects with your on a personal level that cannot be described.
Create Your Immersion Environment
I’m not going to lie. I am a big fan of being able to immerse myself in languages I am learning as much as possible. I found the blog: All Japanese All The Time very inspiring when it comes to learning a language by surrounding yourself in only in your target language by creating an environment just for your target language. However, it can be a bit extreme and sometimes undoable for busy people who are constantly doing so many tasks at once. Yes, you could learn how to do things tasks in your target language, chances are you’re going to inevitably use your native language (unless you’re living in the country or countries that speak your target language. But that’s a different story altogether) for required everyday tasks that simply need to get done. If you can devote your whole day to only learning your target language, fantastic! It just doesn’t quite work for me without it being a consist and I hate to say “scheduled” part of my daily life but if I don’t, other things can easily take priority and suddenly I’m spending a lot less time in my target languages. Or worse having no time to learn my target languages.
Which is not an excuse seeing as we must make time in our daily routine for it. Even if it’s in small portions continuously throughout the day. As long as we are consistent, we will eventually get to fluency.
Fluency Is Way Too Broad of A Goal
I know this is a pitfall I’ve encountered far too often when setting goals for learning languages. There really isn’t anything to go off of. What does fluency mean to you? Does it mean being able to express yourself at the most basic level? Have discussions about topics you’re passionate about and having the ability to talk about them in depth? Being able to read and actually understand what you’ve read? Or is it just simply being able to communicate with others for a specific purpose (ex: Your job)? I would love to hear what your purpose for learning languages are. Feel free to share down in the comment section below! 🙂
Identity what you want to be able to use your new language for by making a list:
- Read my favourite manga/comic book series in Japanese
- Learn how to write fiction in Japanese/German/etc.
- Being able to understand podcasts about topics that matter to me in Japanese/German/etc.
- Learn the Japanese/German/etc names of my favourite foods.
- Learn the Japanese/German/etc equivalent of everyday necessities.
- Learn vocabulary related to my hobbies.
- If available, look for the Japanese/German/etc version of tabletop games and video games.
- Being able to do online shopping in Japanese, German, etc, with ease.
- Learn how to create a website in German/Japanese.
- Leave meaningful comments on YouTube videos in Japanese/German/etc.
You get the idea. When we remind ourselves why we’ve started learning the language or languages of our choice, that’s when we can be more determined to go after our language learning goals that will lead to the fluency we are looking to achieve.
How do you go about staying motivated when learning a new language? I’d love to hear from you!