Upgrading yourself constantly and learning new things is no less than an adventure. Similarly, learning a new language before moving to a new country is imperative. The challenge is huge and you come across a thousand hurdles to give up. But, is it because you are making certain common mistakes? Are the mistakes pulling you back from exploring the unknown realms of a new language? What are the common pitfalls that you might come across? Messed up grammar? Bad pronunciation? Short on vocabulary? That is all? If yes, then there is no need to lose hope. Even an expert makes these usual mistakes before attaining fluency in a certain language. Remember ‘nothing worth having comes easy.’ Here is a list of common mistakes that every language learner makes.
- Unrealistic Daily and Weekly Goals
We wish to master everything overnight. We wish for overnight success but that is not possible. To achieve any goal, it takes practice, patience, and perspiration. Set realistic daily goals and weekly ones. Over time, you will master everything. When unrealistically high goals are set, you try to absorb knowledge more than it is humanly possible for you. What happens? You don’t retain a single thing, you start feeling exhausted, and ultimately, you lose hope. On the other hand, learning a new language without setting up any goal is another loophole. Going haphazard down the line will take you nowhere.
- Non-Usage of Spoken Language
You cannot learn a language without speaking it. You must try to have a conversation with others in the new language. Instead of the experts, try to practice it with the co-learners. Both of you can learn from each other’s mistakes without feeling inferior and shy. Remember that it is similar to a marathon instead of a sprint. Therefore, you cannot become fluent on your second or third day. Rather it is a lifelong process. You might not be familiar with the new words that have been added in recent years in your mother tongue. So, give it some time and learn steadily.
In addition, focusing on reading and listening can never tell you what mistakes you can make while speaking. You must learn to identify your mistakes and then correct them by listening, writing, and reading. Pronunciations of alphabets mark the threshold of correct pronunciations in a particular language. For example, Spanish alphabet pronunciation matters a lot to pronounce the words correctly.
- Not Revising the Lessons Regularly
If you will overlook the importance of revising the lessons every day, you are never going to master it. Handling a whole load of other tasks and skipping to revise the lessons is one of the biggest mistakes you can ever make. New connections develop in our brain when we learn a new thing. But, it is the reinforcement that strengthens the nerves in our brain. Plus, following a hectic routine and managing to attend the classes without revising anything is a futile effort. Practice your lessons every day. Do a little bit of extra research to find some related information. Learn some new words and their usage. Make sentences of your own. All of it might take 15 to 30 minutes in a day. And this practice will definitely make you master the new language in the least possible time.
- Focusing A lot on Grammar
Following the rules, learning new rules, and trying to implement in every statement might confuse you. Plus, there are a lot of aspects of grammar that you MUST understand before learning the language. On the opposite, there are many aspects of grammar that can be overlooked if you are learning a certain language. So, find out the essential part and only focus on that part. In every language, grammar has a hard part as well as an easy part. The former can be the confusing one; while the latter can help you develop clear ideas. So, it is recommended that you don’t get into the technicalities of a language. Another point to be highlighted is that never learn a language by translating it into your language or vice versa. Rather stick to its grammatical rules to excavate the secrets of new language. Learn the language learning hacks from YouTube. You would be able to find a million ways to master the new language.
- Learning the Unwanted Vocabulary Words
Some people have a knack for learning new words. When it comes to language learning, they often get into the details of the language and its vocabulary. They end up learning words that are of no use to them. Therefore, focus on the words that can best describe your life events, personality, hobbies, job, etc. You will be able to develop a good list of vocabulary that you can use in your conversations. It will save your time from being wasted in learning something that is of no use to you. For that purpose, you can search 100 or 200 most common words used in your target language. It will be a helpful guide. When you are learning new words, don’t overlook the importance of using them in your spoken or written expression. We only retain the vocabulary words by using them.
- Feeling Anxious While Having a Conversation with the Natives
It is a common phenomenon to become anxious when talking to a native who is fluent in the language. As the other person is fluent, you might find yourself turning blank as if you have not learned a word. Such encounters are highly discouraging ones. If you are unable to understand a huge part of other’s expressions, you might find it challenging and an impossible task. Natives speak quite fluently and quickly; therefore, it is difficult to understand everything they have said in the beginning. It is, especially, the case with the Spanish language in which the natives speak at a lightning speed. So instead of feeling frustrated, take it as a challenge! Make it your aim to speak the language as fluently as the natives. Even though it is quite difficult but you should always keep your hopes high.
Within a few weeks of dedicated practice, you will learn to speak the new language. Good Luck!
About the Author:
Lara Smith has worked for Wall Street English for 20 years. After studying at Stanford University and subsequently doing a CELTA course, she began her career in teaching. She is obsessed with languages and currently writes blogs at https://www.mimicmethod.com/.