Embarking in a language-learning journey can be very exciting. But then as the process gradually slows down and we make a lot of mistakes along the way, we may feel like we’re at a standstill and get discouraged to carry on. We invest a lot of our time but it may seem like we’re not making progress. The thing is, learning a new language involves immense commitment and if you’re not up for it, you may give up altogether. So how do we stay motivated? Hopefully these tips work out for you.
Stick to your initial motivation
Remind yourself why you started to do it in the first place. Was it to improve your qualifications and get better career opportunities? To travel to foreign cities and meet new people? Or simply out of sheer curiosity and interest in the language and their culture? Whatever your initial motivation is, take it to heart and frequently visualize what it will be like when you have already reached that status.
As a Desktop Publishing Artist at Lexcode, I face documents with different languages every day as part of the multilingual DTP services the company offers. Some of them include languages with distinct alphabets. It is part of my responsibility to ensure that the correct symbols are encoded so I started learning how to read Korean, Thai and Japanese characters. But apart from my desire to perform my duties better, I am personally interested in the Korean language so I find it easier to learn compared to the other languages. I realized that the deeper your connection with the language is, the greater your motivation will become.
Mix up your approach
I started out studying using traditional textbooks. I was very enthusiastic at first but the fire inside me died down faster than I could ever construct a complete sentence. So I changed up my method and discovered interesting and fun ways to learn. As much as possible, connect the learning process to your personal interests and hobbies. Do you spend most of your time on the internet? Try setting up your browser and most visited sites’ language into your target language. Love watching movies? Challenge yourself by watching foreign shows without the subtitles on. The key is to keep you stimulated through a platform that fits your style and maximizes the knowledge that you’ll acquire from it.
Set realistic goals
Have an end goal in mind and plan how you’ll get there. Setting up highly ambitious goals for an unrealistic time frame is counterproductive and will only cause frustration if not accomplished. Concrete and manageable goals will help you stay focused while tracking the progress of your work. By integrating small activities in your daily routine, this becomes a habit and will come off naturally to you. Olly Richards, a polyglot well-versed in eight languages and founder of a language learning site, says that if you have a simple and solid routine, you will make progress, and this will motivate you as you see yourself improving everyday.
Foster connections with native speakers
One of the challenges many language learners are faced with is the limitation brought by the language used in their location. Because they are not immersed in an environment where the target language is prevalently spoken, they are lacking in practical application. Hence, there is a high risk of losing what they have already learned. Luckily, there are plenty of online tools you can take advantage of to connect with native speakers. What better way is there to reach fluency than to hear first-hand how the language is actually spoken? By engaging in conversations with fluent speakers, you’ll not only develop oral competency, but also get feedback on how you’re doing. It’s also a good way to build your confidence in speaking. Apart from building new relationships, who knows? They might even give you the chance to visit their country someday.
Indeed, acquiring language skills opens doors for endless opportunities. Here at Lexcode Philippines, we believe that language should not be a barrier. Our love for languages fuels us to work harder and constantly improve our linguistic abilities, as we strive to continue to be the best localization company in the country.