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The Main Reasons Why You May Be Struggling To Learn A Second Language

The Main Reasons Why You May Be Struggling To Learn A Second Language

Language learning can be a long and stressful process. Even more so when you find yourself struggling even though you’ve spent hours studying. You may find yourself plateauing at a certain point and feeling like you’ve made no progress. In this article, I’ll go through some of the common things that people may struggle with when learning a language. Plus, I’ll detail how you can overcome them to get the best out of your learning experience.

  • Lack Of Motivation Or Interest
  • The Language Isn’t Right For You
  • You’re Not Making The Process Enjoyable For Yourself
  • Attitude And Mindset
  • You’re Plateauing At One Level
  • Children Learn Languages More Easily Than Others
  • The Language You’re Learning Is Too Difficult For You
  • What We Can Do For You

Lack Of Motivation Or Interest

Even if you personally decided that you wanted to go ahead and learn a second language rather than someone forcing the choice on you, you may lack motivation at times. This is perfectly normal. Everybody at some point lacks motivation or continues to procrastinate, even though they know that they have important things to complete.

The trick is to find a way of learning that works for you. Some people are more visual learners, while others are verbal learners. You could also be a mix of both. Visual learners need diagrams, charts, videos, etc. to learn, while verbal learners get more out of words when they’re written down. Or when someone provides them with a spoken explanation. If you’re learning the wrong way for you, you may find it hard to find the interest to continue. Mostly because you may feel like nothing is improving when it comes to your learning. 

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The Language Isn’t Right For You

You might think that picking a language to learn is as easy as looking at a list and just pointing at one. However, depending on where your interests lie, this probably isn’t the best way forward. Language learning is a long process, so it’s crucial that you’re learning a language that you love. Maybe you love its cultural significance or the history surrounding it. Whatever your reasons are, if the language truly fascinates you, you’ll have no issues finding the motivation to learn it. No matter how difficult and arduous the process.

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You’re Not Making The Process Enjoyable For Yourself

Believe it or not, learning can be an enjoyable process. But when things begin to feel like a chore, you’re going to be put off. Or just disengage from the whole process altogether. Though, some things are just more enjoyable than others and just can’t be helped. For example, learning vocabulary isn’t going to be the most glamorous experience. However, you could try and speak to your tutor about how you feel. At Learn&Co we have a whole array of expert tutors that will take your concerns into consideration. They will work with you to find the best way to learn for you and help make the process more engaging for you.

Another way you can make the process more interesting is to find like-minded individuals. Try finding other people online who are learning the same language as you. You can find them through online forums, Facebook groups or subreddits. This way, you’ll have people to engage with and sort of make a game out of the learning process. You’ll be helping each other to learn while having fun at the same time. 

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Attitude And Mindset

Having the right attitude and mindset is crucial, language learning or not. If you don’t have a positive attitude towards your learning, the whole process can feel tedious and at times pointless. You may already have the mindset that this journey will be difficult, which could potentially cause you to struggle while learning a second language. 

You can do small things to help keep yourself positive. For example, rewarding yourself when you reach certain milestones or goals. This will give you things to strive towards. They don’t have to be anything fancy, sometimes small rewards here and there can also be effective.

Remember where you started from. Looking back at the progress you have made is a huge confidence booster. No matter how small, progress is progress. You’ll find yourself more confident and willing to carry on if you regularly reflect back and see what you have accomplished through your journey.

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You’re Plateauing At One Level

If you’re learning on your own you might find yourself beginning to plateau at a certain point, unable to continue and feeling like you’re standing still. Interacting with native speakers may be a helpful option. You’ll be able to address where you’re going wrong. For example your vocabulary will naturally expand when talking with a native speaker, just from interacting with them. Also, the more you interact with them, you’ll begin to mirror their conversational style and find where you may be going wrong with pronunciation of your use of overly simplistic wording.

Talking to a native speaker will also help you to sound more natural. They can also aid you by pointing out your faults and showing you ways to correct them in the future. So, while you might feel like you’re standing still, there’s still a lot of work to do. Language learning isn’t a simple process and you’ll continuously be learning even after you become a fluent speaker.

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Children Learn Languages More Easily Than Others

It’s common knowledge that younger children are able to pick up multiple languages more easily than adults. For children, listening and learning is a very standard approach. They begin to form a whole database of words and their meanings from a very young age as learning is second nature for all children.

As an adult, this may form part of the reason why you are struggling to learn a second language. However, this shouldn’t stop you from learning. There’s a whole array of language learning services available. You should go out there and see the different options available for adults. From one-on-one lessons with native speakers and experienced tutors, to more simple options like apps. You could use a mixture of both. Apps can help you with more repetitive tasks such as learning vocabulary, while your tutor can help with pronunciation and progression among others.

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The Language You’re Learning Is Too Difficult For You

Some languages are exceptionally more difficult to learn than others. For English learners, the most difficult language is Mandarin. To begin with, the writing system is incredibly complex and very foreign compared to the English alphabet. This is a strong reason why you may struggle to learn it as a second language. Also, Mandarin Chinese, which is the most common dialect, has four tones. So one word can be pronounced four different ways and have completely different meanings depending on the pronunciation. So it’s best to start closer to home. As you learn more languages you’ll be able to transfer your skills and experiences from previous lessons to help with your current ones. For example, if you’ve learned Japanese you could use those skills to help with Mandarin lessons.

So, although it might be tempting to jump into the language you’re wanting to learn, consider starting with languages that are similar to your native tongue first. For instance, when it comes to English, German is very similar and can be more easily picked up by native English speakers. They share a large amount of the same vocabulary, and a large amount of the pronunciation is very similar. All of this overlap in pronunciation and meaning means that despite German’s complicated grammar, English and German are still considered 60% lexically similar.

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I hope this extensive list has helped you identify why you may be struggling with language learning and understanding where you may need to change your tactics in order to get better results. You may find that you only need to change a small amount of things in your routine in order to get back on track. Whatever it is, you can look forward to knowing that you now know the ways to get the best out of your learning experience.

What We Can Do For You

If you find yourself struggling to learn a second language, then look no further than Learn&Co. We can provide you with a beginner friendly language course in German, Spanish, French, and many more. We also offer intermediate and advanced courses for those with more experience, or those needing to brush up on their skills. We’ll help make your struggles a thing of the past. Take a look at what we offer on our website.

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