When you start learning a new language, it’s happiness . We discover a number of new words, we express ourselves quickly in the present, the past and the future, and we finally understand references that escaped us until then. For example the difference between living la dolce vita and la vida loca . And then the feeling of omnipotence comes to an abrupt end. Until then, we felt a little stronger every day, and suddenly learning takes the form of an endless succession of irregular verbs in the past perfect. Congratulations… you now know the sweet feeling of having reached a (first) level of learning!
We suspect that it does not reassure you to know that millions of people have already experienced this before you. Nor that it’s the time when most people throw in the towel (or rather their bilingual dictionary) and decide to take up the piano or calligraphy. Paradoxically, crossing a learning threshold does not depend on what one learns but on the very fact of learning.
Friends, I tell you: hang in there! The secret is motivation . Remember, when you decided to immerse yourself in this language, you had an excellent reason. You’re still not going to forfeit the first difficulty? Here are some tips to finally succeed in taking a step forward in your language learning. The next level is yours!
This is not a landing
There’s one important thing to know about milestones: the feeling of learning nothing more is usually just a… feeling . Let’s start from the beginning: when you start learning a language, you don’t know anything about it. Every word we remember becomes a small victory! A few days after starting, we are already able to greet someone and introduce ourselves . Admit it’s great! But the further we go, the more this magical feeling dissipates. New difficulties appear: the structure of sentences becomes more complex, which leads to new mistakes. Don’t be fooled by appearances: if you have reached this stage, which looks like a bleak plain, it is because you are continuing to progress!Never forget: taking a step is only a stage that you will pass sooner or later!
Keep your original goal in mind
Do you remember why you started learning this language? To impress someone who doesn’t speak French? Or to prepare a trip abroad? Anyway, this reason is necessarily excellent: to cross a threshold, it is important to define a precise goal… and to remember it! If it helps, write it down somewhere, and come back to it whenever you feel like giving up. Several studies have shown that to stay motivated, there is nothing like regularly visualizing your goal.
Make learning part of your daily routine
Do you want to take it a step further? Here is a little trick to put in place from the start of your learning process: make your language lessons part of your daily routine . If you learn sporadically, your motivation will fail at the first pitfall. And one fine day, you will find that you have completely stopped learning this language without even realizing it. It is not for nothing that passion and perseverance are considered two determining factors in learning. Having the ability to start and then persevere is invaluable . Only a few rare geniuses have a mysterious talent for learning foreign languages .And their secret is always the same: it’s perseverance that pays off.
Give up wanting to learn everything in record time
When you immerse yourself in a new language, you may want to learn a maximum of things in a minimum of time. This method has a name: brainwashing. Bad news: our brain is not adapted to that. Consequence: it is much more effective to devote 15 minutes a day for six months to learning than six hours a day for 2 weeks. In other words, to give the brain time to imprint the new knowledge over time . If your goal is to really speak a language, you will have to go through this. Remember that to master the finer points of your mother tongue, it took you years; how could you go a step further in another language in just a few days?
Bonus: go to the restaurant to celebrate your successes
Admittedly, this is not advice per se. But rewarding yourself for your accomplishments can be a great source of motivation. We will attach more attention to a good moment , like a trip or a show, than to a simple object . The important thing is to know how to reward your efforts! So, don’t hesitate the next time you have the opportunity to take the next step: you know that a great meal awaits you!