Ann D
Professional Teacher
Language learner question, possibly strange
Has anyone had the experience that their language level seems to drop after they spent a lot of time studying?

I have spent my long weekend studying a lot of Italian and now I seem to find myself making basic mistakes when I talk.
Jun 1, 2020 9:30 AM
Comments · 16
Yes, I'm definitely paying too much attention to my errors. I don't want to be that person who talks in the present tense all the time, I try to produce correct grammatical structures and sometimes I block myself by overthinking.

Oh well! It definitely helps me understand my own students better. Learning a language is not easy, but it is so worthwhile!
June 1, 2020
Yes, it does happen. I don't think it's because you're more aware of your mistakes. I think it's because:

1) we expect more. We think that all that time should produce immediate, noticeable results. Our expectations that we will see instant change and that everything follows a clear cause-and-effect pattern disappoint us. Of course an intense weekend of study isn't going to result in miraculous improvement overnight. Improvement is cumulative and you notice the "shocking" changes weeks after you began. It's like that friend who got healthy. They still looked flabby despite working out regularly and not eating junk three weeks in, but months later, they look like a different person. They were changing all along, but too slowly for it to be noticeable. It's similar with a new language.

2) being in "monitor mode" where you're constantly thinking about the rules and possibly over-applying new knowledge makes you second-guess yourself. Instead of just letting the words tumble out naturally (and often correctly!), you're stuck. Hypervigilance does not work for me when it comes to speaking another language. At most, it allows me the feeling of being virtuous (what a good girl I am, looking out for errors and avoiding saying anything imperfect) but doesn't really help fluency.
June 1, 2020
I definitely recognise this feeling.

Even in my (native) English, if I spend too much time thinking about some obscure point I can lose confidence and start to make mistakes by over-compensating.

In Italian, though, it might just be that after all that study we realise that we are making more mistakes, rather than we are actually making more? Before, I was just blissfully ignorant of what was wrong, but now I have a suspicion there's something about this that I'm not getting quite right ...
June 1, 2020
Ya due to lockdown work has become so stressful.I have started making silly spelling mistakes
June 1, 2020
Maybe you learn more and now you started to notice more mistakes.
June 1, 2020
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Ann D
Language Skills
English, German, Italian, Swedish
Learning Language
Italian, Swedish