In the age of globalisation, universal access to the unlimited Internet resources, countless textbooks and teaching methods, as well as travelling short and long distances on a daily basis, you may think learning a foreign language is a piece of cake. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong! Even the biggest and most easily accessible knowledge base is good for nothing if you’re missing the main ingredient in the recipe for fluency: motivation.
Our ambitions may wane not only when confronted with complicated grammar rules, but also when exposed to our daily routine. We have already shared with you some proven techniques for learning a foreign language (click here). Now we would like to give you some tips on how to find motivation to do it and how to break the vicious circle of unfinished textbooks and abandoned flashcards.
Time management is key
This statement may not seem particularly revolutionary, but when push comes to shove, our organisational skills are difficult to put into practice. Every-day responsibilities often make adjustments to our ambitious plans, and after we skip a few study sessions, the learned material slips out of our minds in a heartbeat. You should plan your sessions according to the realistic estimations of the amount of time you are able to dedicate to studying. It’s better to underestimate than to overestimate – you can always extend your study sessions to suit your current possibilities.
Don’t overdo it
Fascination with a new language and the culture behind it can transform into a true thirst for knowledge. We do our absolute best, read more and study harder, and can barely wait to become fluent in the chosen language. Our ability to learn is, however, limited, and overloading our brain with new information will only cause us to forget most of it. Furthermore, poorly learnt basics will lead to difficulties with more complex material and eventually discourage the student.
Combine learning with fun
It’s a good idea to dive into the depths of streaming services and find an interesting movie or TV show in the studied foreign language. It’s a priceless opportunity to get acquainted with the informal language, which is lacking in traditional textbooks. Another great source of knowledge are ebook stores, which give us a chance to read our favourite books in original or translated versions without spending a fortune ordering them from abroad. Another trusted method of learning a language effortlessly is video games. Although this tactic can be usually applied to English only, many people admit learning much more from the games they played than from the classes they attended. It’s only natural that we find it much easier to get on with a TV show, a favourite book, or a compelling game than with a table of irregular verbs.
Look for company
Another thing which can boost your learning process is having friends who speak the language you study or come from the country where it’s used. You can try attending language meetings organised in big cities or arrange your own individual tandem meetings. Thanks to combining foreign language and social life, your learning process will become less of an unpleasant chore, and the new information, taken in via real, “live” language, will be easier to process and memorise. If you manage to find a person who studies the same language on a similar level, you can even organise joint study sessions in order to support and motivate each other.
Some languages are considered to be easy to learn, others are notoriously challenging. Obviously, the speed at which you learn a new language depends not only on your individual predispositions, but also on your commitment and your hard work. Lack of spectacular results can be discouraging, and comparing yourself to other students may cause you to lose all your motivation. Every language is a highly complicated structure, mastering of which can be a long, tedious process. You shouldn’t look over at how someone else is doing, but rather focus on studying at your own pace and in your own way. Celebrate small victories and, above all, remember that you learn for your own sake and that you will be the one to benefit from the results.