Frustrated With Learning a Language? Don't Give Up!
So, I had a really cool experience with Russian the other day. I've been trying to learn Russian, and awhile back, I got really kind of frustrated with it. I wasn't quite picking it up as fast as I wanted to, and it felt like nothing was sinking in. I decided to take a little break from it for awhile and focus on my German, hoping that some time away would do me some good.
Then, a few weeks ago, I was at a thing for my family, and one of my cousin's friends who was there was talking in Russian with another one of their friends, because they'd just got back from living over there. Despite the fact that I hadn't advanced much in Russian in awhile, I tried to listen in to see if I could understand anything. The super cool thing was that I actually did understand some of it. Granted, I couldn't translate word for word, but I was able to pick out a lot more than I thought I ever would. It was probably one of the coolest feelings I've had.
So, the moral of this story? Don't give up on your language learning! I know that the grammar can be weird, or the words might fumble out of your mouth, but don't ever just decide that you aren't smart enough or something; that feeling of actually being able to understand that language is going to be totally worth it. And if I can do it, you can, too.
The sad thing is how many people give up at the very moment they should dig in. You can study books all day long then be at a loss for words when speaking to a native. And that moment when you venture out to actually converse is a key moment IMHO and it's a moment that defeats many. But you just need to power through it.
I was watching one of the James Bond movies awhile ago and although any foreign language was subtitled, I realized that I understood the French phrase, "Que est-ce que je fais ici?" when the lady muttered to herself. Small but important victory in the quest to learn French. So my advice is to not get distracted by what you don't know, but concentrate on the many small victories you attain while learning. Small victories can keep you in the fight.
Honestly I wanted to comment to remind you to put the apostrophe in: "Qu'est-ce que je fais ici?", but it felt rude to just do that. I did read the rest as well, and I agree. You are very right—I know actually trying and failing (or seeming to fail) to speak a language you've been learning can be very disheartening, but it's just one of those phases you have to go through.
I tend to practice speaking on my own, first. Just talk to yourself, or make a vlog or something (even if you never publish it). Possibly helpful for the introverted language learners among us.
That would have been fine. You wouldn't be the first person to correct me. Nor will you be the last. Even though I am now fluent in Spanish, I still occasionally get the genders wrong. Not to fear, I also get them wrong in French and Italian! Adding apostrophes to French and Italian is another thing I constantly forget. But you know what?
I don't care.
I mean, I do care, but not in the sense that I'm worried how I'll sound. So all you introverted learners, make mistakes, and be bold about it! No need to be embarrassed. There's no way you're ever going to speak a language without mistakes, so speak and get them out! Just watch kids learning English and see how little it bothers them to get corrected. You have to be like that and you'll learn fast!
I guess we are on a language learning website; it's not like on the rest of the internet where people get angry when you correct their language :)
Watch this video called "The Valley of The Suck"
It focuses on art, but in my opinion, it applies to any endeavour we take, including language learning. You have to cross this Valley of The Suck numerous times, and he describes how this journey can be for us.