How to Stay Motivated While Learning a Foreign Language
Learning a language can be a very overwhelming experience, especially if you have just started learning a language. It can often be hard to learn new things. It can also be frustrating, especially if you have spent months or years learning a language, only to have it seem to lack structure and continuity. If you’ve done it before, you probably know what I’m talking about. So how do you stay motivated when learning a language?
Motivation usually comes from three sources: personal goals, external goals, and internal goals. You may find that your most motivated when learning a foreign language is when you reach a certain goal within a certain time frame. If past foreign language learners can hold a conversation in 90 minutes with an average native speaker, why couldn’t you? So if you’re ready to take action and are sick and tired of constantly not having the desired results, here’s a quick video where even longer went into more in-depth about the 3 keys to stay motivated when learning a foreign language.
You need motivation to get through and complete the tasks at hand, whether they’re something as simple as learning a new language, or as complex as creating your own website or designing custom graphics for a new product line. How can you stay motivated? Motivation starts within you! It comes from within yourself. And how do you do that? By studying your natural tendencies toward language learning, meeting other language learners around the world, and constantly challenging yourself by speaking with native speakers in order to improve upon your current skills and to expand your knowledge base.
Motivation doesn’t always come easily to most language learners. It takes a little bit of discipline to be persistent in your efforts, but once you get it, there’s nothing like it. Learning a foreign language can be intimidating because you may feel like you’re making little progress each day, or that you’re not really making much progress at all. In order to give yourself the best chance to succeed, set a goal for yourself: take 15 minutes to speak with a native speaker. Even if it seems daunting at first, remember, you can do this every day and you can do it every week–and you can do it while learning a new language, too!
The next key to successfully tackling any target language is to find polyglot resources. Polyglot resources are those resources designed to teach a wide variety of languages. These include materials written in several different languages but with a common theme–an emphasis on how these languages are used and what their creators call ergonomics. For example, an ergonomically-themed book about French would definitely have sections about French cuisine, French culture and French language. When polyglot resources are included in a language learning activities book, you have many more options available to you for how to learn your target language.
The next thing you can do to make sure you’re really determined to learn how to speak a foreign language well is to constantly practice. There are many ways to do this, but one of the best is to set a goal for yourself and then to spend fifteen minutes each day practicing in front of a mirror or even using a voice recorder. To make it even better, add an element of competition into your fifteen minutes of practice: ask another language learner who happens to be close to you (or someone who may be a good friend) to speak with you. This can really jump-start your goal to learn how to speak the target language quickly.
One other thing that’s helpful in learning how to stay motivated when learning a new language is to find visual aides to make sure that your brain keeps going. One particular visual aide that has helped me (and that my students have also found helpful) is a flashcard with a picture of the target language on one side and the English on the other. When you’re looking at the flashcard, you can have the English word underlined while the Spanish word is colored in blue. You can also have a saying in Spanish underlined while the English word is colored in yellow.
When learning how to stay motivated when learning a language, you must keep in mind that language learners have short attention spans. Therefore, anything you can do to make your learning enjoyable is very beneficial to your ultimate goal. Even just fifteen minutes of speaking, listening and reading foreign language to yourself or using a foreign language dictionary can help. Once you’ve begun your learning adventure, use these tips regularly to stay motivated.