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What Not To Do When Learning A Language

Dec 24, 2007
Learning a foreign language is an interesting experience. It's not something to be taken lightly. There are many hours of study, many days of no apparent progress and many reasons to stop.

People attempt to learn languages, fail, and then attempt again with the idea that the process will eventually change. Perhaps, it wasn't the right time, too much going on or the teacher was bad.

I learned Spanish at age 22 and know what obstacles await adult learners. The most common are frustration and despair.

Frustration because of a perceived lack of progress and despair because of a lack of support and time. Many students have given up because one of these two reasons.

The good news is these can be handled easily once you become aware of their role in your language learning. You can recognize them when they strike and move on without missing a beat.

Here are three things to be aware of:

#1 - Don't get down when things don't happen quickly. You need to realize that many things are happening on the inside that you're not aware of. You just don't see the progress being made.

Here's an example. When you plant a seed in a pot, you need to water it and give it sunshine. If you look at the soil after 2 days you won't see any progress. If you look after a week, you won't see any progress. If you look after 9 days you still won't see any progress.

If you decide to stop watering and giving sunshine because nothing is happening, you will kill the plant.

Yet, all that time, the roots were growing and the seed was expanding below the soil. The same is happening in your brain as your learning the language.

#2 - Don't listen to naysayers. There will be many people that see you studying and tell you that it's "too difficult", "too late", you're "too old" to learn a foreign language.

If you're not careful, you'll start to believe them and stop "watering the plant." You need a support group, even if it's one person, who will remind you that you're on the right track.

#3 - Don't get stressed over time limitations. Obviously, you would love to have more time to dedicate to studying the language. But, with family commitments, job commitments and all the rest, you have to work with what you have.

There are numerous ways to learn on the run, without adding extra hours to your day. Use the time you commute to study verbs or listen to tapes. Talk to yourself in the shower. You don't need a lot of time each day to study. Just enough to keep the fires burning.

Remember, for language learning, 15 minutes a day for a week is much better than an hour twice a week.

You can make it to the finish line if you are aware of the pitfalls that await. Just make the right decisions along the way and you'll arrive before you know it.
About the Author
Jim Sarris is a veteran Spanish teacher and the author of a new ebook/audio series "The Secret to Learning Any Language." Visit his blog to obtain free information and learn about other resources to help you learn faster and easier than ever.Language learning made easy.
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