Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 115

Learning a language - stalemate

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by : 
EllenBlogger

So, every one of us who has ever tried to learn a language has reached a point where they feel like they’ve reached a stalemate - like the point in a game of chess when it's impossible to make the next move. They don’t feel like they are progressing any more, they’re taking one step forward and two steps back or they just can’t work out how to move forward. There is hope! Read on!

Firstly, it is vitally important not to give up. Think back to the time when you weren’t able to speak anything and look at how far you have progressed. Do you remember that time when you couldn’t understand anything at all and when you could barely communicate? Look how much better you are now and look how much you improved! A positive mental attitude is so important at this point!

Secondly, you need to review the methods you are using to learn the language and ask yourself why you don’t feel like you are progressing. Are you focusing too much on one aspect of language learning? Are you reinforcing the language you are learning correctly? It might be a good idea to review your goals and decide what you want to do in the short, medium and long term and then start looking at how you fulfil these goals.

Thirdly, when setting yourself goals, split them down into categories. The five main ones are speaking, reading, writing, listening and grammar, but each one is interlinked and relies upon the other categories to help it improve. If you need to improve one more than the others, then spend a little more time on this one, but keep up your work on the others and remember to reinforce all your language learning with lots of practice!

Fourthly, remind yourself of your reason for language learning. Why do you want to be fluent in another language? Do you want to be able to teach that language or travel to that country and be able to have conversations? Are you trying to make your knowledge of the small aspects of language better by improving your accuracy? Remember your reasons for learning language and use them to give yourself the motivation you need to keep going.

Lastly, language learning should be fun! You shouldn’t be stressed over how much you are learning, you should enjoy learning new words and being able to compare them to your own language. You should be feeling proud of how far you have come and excited for the journey ahead!

Just remember: don’t give up, enjoy learning your new language and be proud of what you have achieved!

Discussion

Have you ever felt this way? How did you motivate yourself and make yourself learn the language? Do you have any useful techniques to share?

Comments

queennad's picture
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queennad 18 December, 2016 - 07:13

Who doesn't? I ever wanted to be a polyglot so I learnt some languages at once, including German and Dutch. I was very spirited at first but slowly I got lost and I guessed it was better to give up. So here I am. I didn't regret that decision, though, maybe I should learn it later. Now I focus more on English.

I don't learn English because I'm obliged to, oh, I'm just in love with the language! There are so many countries speak English, so there must be so many websites written in English and it means I can widen my knowledge from them! Same language but various countries. Get it?

So basically I don't motivate myself directly. I just think that it will be fun to write (I like writing!) pages in English, to read untranslated stories, websites, and important articles.

I improve my skills by:

-writing: having tumblr. i can post anything i want!
-reading: since around 2,5 years ago I started to google in English. By this I force myself to learn English. By the way I had downloaded English dictionary and I prepared google translate as a handy way
-listening: songs plus the lyrics! ah, movies with subtitles. and also i browse the websites providing listening lessons
-speaking: speaking to my own self, hohoho
-grammar: grammar book, reading, and websites

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EllenBlogger's picture
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EllenBlogger 16 January, 2017 - 12:34

Hi Queennad

These are excellent techniques for learning English! Well done!

I don't think it is ever too late to learn a language, it just takes a lot of perseverance and hard work! 

Ellen

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hadia's picture
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hadia 18 December, 2016 - 16:28

Hey queennad!
You seem so motivational. And the ways you mentioned for improving your language skills are so good. I will try out doing the same.
BTW, what is a polyglot? Please tell. I haven't heard of it. And I am curious to know that . ;))

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EllenBlogger's picture
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EllenBlogger 16 January, 2017 - 12:31

Hi Hadia,

A polyglot is another word for a linguist – someone who speaks lots of languages! 

Ellen

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leviiaot's picture
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leviiaot 30 November, 2016 - 06:17

i just really want to practise speaking with foreigners but i'm afraid of not understanding what they say. i also don't know any topics to ask them and start a conversation.

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EllenBlogger's picture
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EllenBlogger 16 January, 2017 - 12:28

Hi leviiaot,

Your English is certainly good enough to start a conversation! In my opinion, writing English is harder than speaking it!

Not understanding is the biggest fear for all language learners, so you are not alone! I get very frustrated when I don't understand something, especially as sometimes some of the accents here in Spain are difficult to understand.

You shouldn't be scared, though. I find most people speak a lot more slowly to me because they know I'm not Spanish and if I don't understand, I ask them to repeat, which isn't a problem at all. 

Most people are really pleased that you are trying to learn their language!

Here are some ideas for topics of conversation:

The weather
A new news topic
Things you like doing in your spare time (hobbies)
What you have done today
School/work 
Where you live

Maybe you could practise asking questions in English? 

Good luck!

Ellen

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EllenBlogger's picture
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EllenBlogger 28 November, 2016 - 13:11

Hello Macadamia44!
Why are you scared of what is going on? A lot of people find language learning scary! It's not an easy process, but it is a very rewarding one! You have to remember that you are very brave for learning another language and that anyone who hears you speaking English will be very impressed with your level and pleased that you are trying to communicate in our language! Well done and just keep going! 

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hadia's picture
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hadia 25 November, 2016 - 15:26

These tips you gave are quite motivational. Hope is on!! And yeah, after all practice makes a man perfect. So keep on working and be positive always. Either gradually or swiftly, the thing that matters is, that you are progressing :D☆☆

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EllenBlogger's picture
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EllenBlogger 28 November, 2016 - 13:14

Hi Hadia,
I'm really glad you think so and I'm really pleased that you are able to relate to me. and yes, sometimes it is very hard to tell that you are progressing, but like you say, practice makes perfect! I'll see if I can think of any more tips!

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hadia's picture
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hadia 29 November, 2016 - 13:46

Hi Ellen.
Thanks for replying.
Btw, the pic above shows that you're quite athletic. You know, bicycling. You seem to enjoy it. Good luck with that!!

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EllenBlogger's picture
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EllenBlogger 30 November, 2016 - 22:28

Hi Hadia,

It's a pleasure. Yes, I am, but it's mainly because the weather here in the south of Spain is great and it's free to get around by bike - I hate sitting on buses and having to pay to be squashed in like a sardine. But you have to be very careful on the roads when you cycle - and the cycle tracks too, as people always walk in the way! 

Where did you learn your English? You're very good. 

Ellen

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hadia's picture
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hadia 1 December, 2016 - 14:19

Hi Elle!
Yeah, you're right! A lovely weather induces us for cycling. It's really an amazing feeling when the wind passes by you, patting you at every curve of your body. I really used to enjoy it.
But at the same time, people coming in the way really reduce the joy.
When I was a kid, I used to cycle a lot. But as I've grown up. I don't do much. That's because in our country it's unusual for girls and women to do cycling (on roads). You may find .001% of them on the roads, bicycling. This makes me feel sad. I've seen a very less number of women in my city, cycling
But there's a girl in my class who drives a motorbike. And again, as I told you it's a rare case. She really looks cool. Although she's having small height, still she drives amazingly.
Well, you're really lucky. For me, I do bicycling at home. There's a lot of place there and I really feel amazing.

And yes, I too, don't have much liking for public transport.
Thank you so much Elle. I'm really having a sublime feeling.
It's great to hear that you think I am good at English. I always try to improve myself.
Learning English? Hm.... I guess that the thing which helped me in improving my English and making it better is Speech.
I'm an orator. So, I have got much chance in speaking at public gatherings, events and competitions. Practice makes you perfect. And speaking helps you to mame up your deficiencies.
Moreover, it'd been two years since I joined BritishCouncil. (Wow! Time passes so quickly.)
And I feel proud to say that it had really helped me improve my English.
That's all.
Thanks again for your comment. Smile isn't leaving my face. I do feel much happy.

Stay Blessed~!

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