I have them, you have them, everybody has them!
There are moments in every language learner’s journey that can be considered “relatable”. Think back on experiences you’ve had so far in this incredible journey, do any of them strike you as déjà vu or give you the thought “wow, this must happen a lot with other language learners”? This article will be a short, comical overview of some of the most “relatable” experiences in language learning.
The Doubt Phase
“Do I really want to learn this language? Is it worth the effort? Maybe, I should just be monolingual.”
Doubting is quite common in any language learning journey. But, if you do manage to make it through this phase you’re in the clear for what will be an incredible journey.
The Know It All Phase
So, you’ve got some mileage with your dream language, and admittedly you’re kind of good. But… you’re not perfect- far from it, at least in the eyes of others. It’s not a bad thing to have an outstanding sense of confidence and courage when it comes to anything you’ve spent genuine time with, but at times that same sense of pride can get the best of you. Thinking you know it all can lead to disappointment when you end up in a situation that is beyond your comprehension.
Saying The Right Word
Yeah, you read that right. The feeling you get when you manage to say the RIGHT word in the RIGHT situation to the RIGHT people is indescribable. Context can be a doozy in your native language, so imagine it in a language you’re not familiar with…phew. Working your way around the maze in your head to get to the right word is a moment every language learning can relate to.
Coming Across People Way Better Than You
You’re not the only one learning the language, that’s obvious. But, what isn’t obvious is the sheer amount of people who outmatch you point for point in language learning achievement. We’ve all come across other language learners further along in their journey, and while we know that they’ve earned it we can’t help to shake that feeling of envy.
Arriving in the country of your dreams is for a lack of words “shocking”. There is a reason it’s called Culture Shock. No matter how adjusted you are to the culture pre-exposure there will always be a period of adjustment. As language learners, we have a grasp on the language, but until we’re exposed to its culture we’ve only experienced half of the journey.
Learning Two Languages at Once
Sometimes our motivation takes a dip, but we don’t really like to see it that way. As a result, we go on to learn something in the same field, i.e another language to distract us from the first language we started studying. For example, when I was learning Spanish in high school, I was quite serious about it, but that didn’t stop me from studying the Japanese alphabet in the middle of Senorita’s class.
The “I Need More” Phase: “Nothing is working!!!!”
We’ve all said it and felt stuck in one way or the next. So what happens after that? We start to stockpile resources, dictionary after dictionary, application after application we just keep on trying everything until we find something that “works”. The problem isn’t the resources we’re collecting…it’s us. The good news is that after this expensive, tiresome phase we language learners acquire an established routine and learn which resources work best for us.
We forget as human beings, it’s only natural – in fact, that’s one of the ways we learn. But, as language learners forgetting some or mostly all your language abilities at any given moment in time is an all too common phenomenon. How many times have you been in the middle of a conversation and the literal hundreds/thousands of hours of study slip out of your head? It’s not as if the language is gone for good, it’s just that, well… you forget.
As funny and relatable all of these moments may be, these are real experiences that can cause a learner to give up, stunt, or become sidetracked from their journey. With that in mind, you should always keep that little nagging voice in the back of your head to remind you why you started learning the language in the first place.
We thought it might be a good idea to throw in a couple of articles from our Creative Language Learning Series links to help you in case you’re going through any one of these moments in your journey.
- The Doubt Phase: What’s The Perfect Language For You?
- The Know it All Phase: Just Listen
- Saying the Right Word: Confusion, Big Words
- Coming Across People Way better than You: Living In The Moment
- Culture Shock: The ABC’s of Culture and Language
- Learning more than Two Languages: What’s The Perfect Language For You?,
- The “I Need More” Phase: Optimizing Your Language Learning
- Forgetting: It’s Crunch Time! Timed Language Learning