Keeping up your enthusiasm for language learning

The Victoria and Albert Design museum in Dundee with a double rainbow

Keeping up your enthusiasm for language learning

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What happens when you have a lovely goal for learning a language and yet you find yourself struggling to become motivated to learn?

Firstly, most of us learning a language aren’t doing it 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. We are trying to fit it in around busy life schedules. If you don’t want to study one day, don’t. You’re an adult and can do as you please. If you feel though that this is happening more often, then there are some ideas that you can use to help.

Is your goal too vague? For example, “I want to become fluent in French in 6 months”. What do you mean by fluent? Considering it is a term used very often to speak about language proficiency, it is not at all clear what it actually means. Being able to talk easily whilst on holiday to people you come in contact with (people who are used to talking to non-native speakers) for example when ordering food, asking directions, checking in etc is a very different animal to being able to converse easily about politics with ordinary people. So be more specific with your goals and get used to the Common European Framework (CEF) which is used to describe language proficiency in European languages.. A1 and A2 are elementary levels, B1 and B2 are immediate and C1 and C2 are proficient users. A good language tutor (like we have at Discovery Languages) will be able to tell you which level you are and how to get to the next level.

Are you trying to do too much? Six months isn’t a long time to learn if you have challenging goals. Life can often become very busy or difficult for lots of reasons. Be more generous with the time you allow yourself.

Allow yourself quick wins with your language study. Make up some flashcards (on card or on your phone) and glance at them while you are waiting for the dentist, doctor, in a queue. Be happy that you have done something today towards your goals.

Join a language class, like we have a Discovery Languages. Often, it can help being part of a language learning group. You can support each other through the difficult times and celebrate the good times. Tell your fellow students about the great times you had in France speaking French and not reverting back to English.

How do you keep motivated? Le us know in the comments below.

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