Tips to overcome language learning slump?

Hi there. Just looking for some insight from fellow language learners out there...

I've been learning foreign languages since I was a little kid. I continued learning my language of choice even after the school requirements were met and I technically didn't have to do it anymore. It was something I enjoyed and excelled at. I used to be proud of my abilities. I'd have conversations with ease and seek out opportunities to practice. But somewhere along the way, I started to become hyper-aware of my mistakes and the reality set in that my skills weren't as good as I thought they were. Despite my years of learning, my level really wasn't all that impressive and my efforts to improve it seemed to do nothing. Since then, my confidence has plummeted. So much so, that I've almost stopped learning my target language completely. I've made some attempts to continue, but the joy I used to have is gone.

Have any of you ever experienced this? If so, did you overcome it and rekindle your lust for learning the language? How?


Apr 21, 2019 11:22 PM
Comments · 6

I've experienced something similar with my chosen second language. It was love and joy and pride and all that good stuff until I started to recognize anxiety and disappointment. I was still satisfied with my one-on-one interactions, but would become exasperated with myself when I couldn't follow everything in group conversations, or on the news. 

My ego was wounded.

I wish I could tell you how I overcame that and regained my enthusiasm for studying that language. Instead, what I did was assuage my wounded ego by taking up a new language. I'm a beginner again, and imperfection is my right! Nobody, not even me, holds the ridiculous expectation that my command of the language be on a par with that of a native. I'm even considering signing on for some advanced lessons in my L2, hoping to carry with me this return to beginner's mind.

April 22, 2019

Thanks everyone for your thoughts! :)

I like the idea of focusing on listening comprehension. It lends itself to doing more enjoyable activities like listening to music or watching YouTube videos.

Not sure if I’ll start another language instead, but who knows! 

April 23, 2019
I think in generally if you become better at something you will recognize how much you do not know about the topic or skill etc etc. You can recognize it as a disappointment but it can be a chance as well to improve. Of course it is hard to improve when you are pretty good at something and it demands more uncomfortable work but if you are really determined you will forget your anxious feelings soon. Keep moving forward:)
April 22, 2019
I usually start on another language and greatly improve my reading ability, but failing to make any progress in speaking. 
April 22, 2019

Become humble again. Nobody likes the feeling of being proficient and then being told it's not good enough.

Your previous efforts and improvements were through school and a set methodology. At that time, it is an artificial environment. Now that you are older, you have real world interaction in probably a non-native environment without the prompting of classroom environment.

You probably have to change your methods a bit. Some bad habits are ingrained. Focus on changing one thing at a time and expect the process to be much much slower and needing more repetitions to break old habits.

I was quite frustrated with Chinese. Previously, it was too much to handle learning new vocabulary, new sentence patterns, trying to speak  in conversation all at the same time. It would get incredibly frustrating and disheartening and I would go for long periods without touching it. Until, one day I decided to focus the majority of the time on listening comprehension. Then sometimes as a natural product of listening more, I would shadow the sentences more. Once out of school, I think we just don't have the same time to devote to studies.

No grammar, no studying sentence patterns, no reading. Those will come later. 

April 22, 2019
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