How To Know When You Need a Language Break
No one knows better than we do how difficult it can be to learn a new language. It is a huge investment of time and energy, and regardless of the language you choose to learn, there will be times when acquiring it feels easy, and others when you will find yourself wondering why you even started learning it in the first place.
So, what happens when you are not feeling it anymore? The answer is not to give up, but how you respond may depend on several factors, meaning the best solution can be anything from taking a short break to completely altering your learning approach.
If you think your language learning needs a refresh, this article will help you to pinpoint where to focus your energy, so you can get back on track.
Find resources that entertain you
One of the most common causes for language burnout, especially when you practice self-study, is that the tools you are using have become stale and boring. Textbooks and apps have their place, but memorizing words and verb conjugations isn’t exactly inspiring.
Stop for a moment, and think about why you want to learn the language. Maybe to learn a new skill or to enjoy some foreign movies and music? Well, why not enjoy them now? Watch YouTube videos to learn a new skill, like cooking, only use a foreign language channel (with subtitles, if you need them). Alternatively, watch foreign language movies and TV series to train your ear while having fun. Or simply nod along to music with the lyrics on your phone or computer screen, so you can decipher the words as you go.
We have a whole list of resources you can use for your chosen language, so mix up your learning with something that really motivates you.
Learn from a professional, native speaker
One particular aspect of the learning process that may have you feeling bogged down is that you have simply hit a brick wall with your self-study. Maybe you have already tried watching foreign language movies, but your progress has started to slow.
If this is the case, the best solution is to find someone to learn from: a professional tutor, and preferably a native speaker who has an unparalleled understanding of both the language and its culture.
Fortunately, we can help with this! At Language Trainers, we connect enthusiastic language learners, like you, with native-speaking tutors who personalize language courses to suit each student’s goals and needs.
Best of all, they make learning fun again! Studying with an app is convenient, but there are only so many word games you can play before learning becomes stale. Meanwhile, learning from someone who can adapt to your pace and interests means you can study efficiently and effectively, while having engaging, thought-provoking conversations. This also means you are not bound by one means of knowledge intake (e.g. reading), but your experienced teacher can bring a variety of resources and exercises to keep things interesting and varied.
Plus, they will help keep you motivated and on track if you ever start to feel a lull in your learning.
Drop us a quick inquiry to learn more about what we have to offer.
Join a language exchange
Whether you have a private tutor or not, the more you practice your language skills with others, the more varied will be your learning approach and the skills you learn. By attending an in-person or online language exchange, you can meet people who speak the language fluently to help you improve.
In return, you will teach them a little of your native language. This, itself, is a great motivator, as it will remind you that you are actually an expert at one language already: your own. And if you can become an expert at one language, then why not another?
By meeting and practicing with other language students, you will learn to understand and use words and phrases, challenge yourself to talk about topics you might not have covered in your studies, and also have more fun, varied, and interesting discussions.
If all else fails, take a break
You have limited hours in the day, and, until they discover a cure for mortality, a limited amount of time to dedicate to something as intense as language learning. Simply put, if you really are not enjoying the process and you have tried our suggestions above, do not be afraid to take a little language vacation.
Time spent learning a language is never wasted, and you will always have the option to come back to it later. The roots of what you have learned will still be there, even if they might take a little work to unearth.
And don’t feel bad about stepping away for a short time. There is a reason you started learning the language in the first place. Sooner or later, you will start to feel that motivation again. As with anything where we flex our muscles (physical or cerebral), we need to pause now and then, so give yourself a couple of weeks to rest, without any pressure to learn anything new.
Don’t be so hard on yourself
Last, give yourself a break!
I know, I know, this is easier said than done, but when it comes to something as complex as language learning, it is vital you keep reminding yourself that you are doing just fine. You are learning at your pace, and that’s all you can do!
As much as possible, avoid comparing your language level to others, and try not to fret if others are picking up the skills at a faster pace than you. We are all wired differently, and different aspects of language learning can come easier to some than others. You might be a whiz at learning new words, while someone else excels at listening or writing. The important thing is to not look to others as examples of what you think you should be achieving. Instead, maintain your focus on your learning process and go easy on yourself.
That’s right, write it out on a post-it note and stick it to your refrigerator or bathroom mirror: I am doing great.
Languages are about communication, and communication means speaking and interacting with others. Don’t tackle your language journey alone; contact us at Language Trainers for more tips and advice about the best ways to learn!