I took a break, and now I am pretty sure I have language super powers
I was away at summer camp for a week. I didn't speak any Japanese the entire time and while I lost my almost 85 day streak (Eh, I don't really care) I am back and have gained so much motivation to continue learning languages. Honestly I am pretty sure I can learn the entire Japanese language and not get sick of it now. I also find that learning it is easier after taking a break from topics I have found hard.
If you ever feel unmotivated, maybe all you need is take a few days off and it will most likely come back!
I've noticed this too. I took a couple months off learning because I got burned out, but saw a video on YouTube that I didn't know was going to be in Japanese. To my surprise, I understood almost all of what was being said, and even learned vocabulary from words I didn't know, but knew the context. I guess your brain needs time to process everything you try to cram in there at one time.
Definitely! I had a similar situation with a video in French a bit ago, of course I couldn't understand some of the harder words but considering I haven't seriously studied French in awhile I was impressed!
I don't know if it works on a similar mechanism, but sometimes when trying to get through a plateau in weightlifting and other resistance training, a week off can help. Perhaps a mental exercise is similar - it helps you lower psychological barriers or reduce stress that was interfering with learning you weren't even aware of.
Sometimes your mind needs a chance to work things out. I take breaks frequently at least from learning new content. Review days are a great way to take a break but also keep practicing when I am stuck on something.
I’m also super motivated to start learning again after a long break. Sometimes you just need to step away, clear your mind and recharge your batteries.
I too have noticed that whenever I come back to a language that I quit for a long time (years), I further my knowledge significantly in said language.
I took a break of several years once (between college and then deciding to come back to language study) - I did forget a lot but it was surprising how much I remembered and how much was floating in the back of my brain. It was sort of like starting from scratch again but with a leg up.
In my experience it's much easier to brush up on (regain) skills and knowledge that one has lost or forgotten, than it was to learn them in the first place.
I am studying Japanese and I have reached a "trouble spot" I'll follow your advice and see if it works. Thanks!
Your brain definitely needs time to process things. Sometimes I'll "play" with another language for fun. Sometimes I'll just do the bare minimum to keep up my streak. Sometimes I'll switch to another language I want to seriously learn. But even studying another language, when I go back, I always do well.
I've found my learning improved with a few things.
- Taking breaks, like you mentioned
- Learning at night, right before sleep (I guess our brains do that processing at night). And Duolingo recommends this, too!
- About 30 minutes after having a little bit of caffeine (seriously makes a huge difference for me - but just a little bit)
- Learning music. I've recently taken this up and have noticed I remember languages better, now.
I lost a 100 day streak before.... I was on a long journey and missed a day!!! It was terrible.
That almost happened to my 100 day streak too, but I always have a streak freeze equipped as back up in case I do accidently miss a day. It gives peace of mind but I never rely on it, only needed it once thankfully.
I actually lost my streak due to a connection/time zone error when it was around 500 days. I know it's not a huge deal but I felt terrible for some time. If you'll ever happened to be in such situation, ask the help center and they will most likely fix the problem. And DON'T skip other days even though your motivation is ruined because once your streak is repaired, you may lose it again for those days you've missed. But after all, your streak is just a statistical figure and it doesn't matter at all if you are learning and having fun.
Taking small breaks is important. Cramming too much at once is never a good idea.
I agree. I also think it is important to think about why you learn a language. This always motivats me to keep going :)
When I lost my 80+ day streak, I was so unreasonably upset lmao but now I realize that it was probably for the best and it doesn't mean much anyways.
I mean it kind of is annoying, but it is just a number. Who cares, honestly haha.
Honest this is the case with learning anything. Sometimes it just takes a minute of rest.
Oh my god, thank you for the great advice! I noticed the same thing when I was learning Esperanto. Back then, I learned both Esperanto and French at the same time, because I thought Esperanto was a good add-on to knowing French, due to how similar both of them are. I discontinued learning Esperanto for a bit, because I was steadily cruising through the French tree. Now that I've passed Checkpoint 2 on that same tree, sentences got longer and lessons got harder. Now, I'm thinking about getting back into Esperanto, since I've been thinking about it from time to time.
If you do care of your streak then get a streak freeze (be sure to save your lingets!)
From June 30-july5 I need to go to a stupid summer-camp... and no devices are aloud.... So I guess I'll get a break :X
I bet it won't be stupid, have fun! Taking a break really helped me and I bet it will help you at least a little!
I get that feeling as well... I felt overwhelmed at first and thought everything was so difficult but then I took a break saw a few videos on youtube and came back here to realise that nothing was that tough and have been having fun learning since then! We can do it!
Had something similar to happen to me a while ago. Nothing in French was making sense. I got frustrated and suffered burn out. Lost a streak but at the time my brain felt like it was melting out of my ears so I really couldn't have cared at that time. After two or three days I came back and...POP! Everything made sense. It was the strangest feeling to suddenly be able to break down the mental wall that seemed so high before with incredible ease. Breaks, mental and physical, can really help in learning ANYTHING.
If I can't remember something, I don't drill it about my head for hours. I complete the first level of the skill, then take a day off, with the help of a streak freeze. Usually, I remember better while doing this, although I haven't had to since I was at like, 30-40 day streak.
that's pretty awesome!
they say that when you work on something creative, a good method is to spend some time thinking deeply about the problem you are trying to solve, then move on to something else and not think about it at all. our subconscious mind processes and then comes up with solutions that way. that's why a lot of great creative ideas come in the shower, during random "busy work", or after sleeping.
i wonder if language learning works in a similar way.
I have been thinking about taking breaks once in a while but only doing the smallest amount to keep a streak.
a mi Es un hecho, con la musica de piano, cuando aprendo y olvido algo tres veces, en la tercera ves aprendiendo, lo voy a tenerlo por siempre en mi memoria. creo que es el mismo con las lenguas.
are you learning all languages at the same time I wonder? how much time you spend on each?
Japanese is my main language so I spend about an hour on it a day. I did take a single semester of Spanish in my college college recently to be at a basic beginner level for a Mexico trip this spring, so I was learning that and Japanese at the same time. French is just to brush up on the vocab I lost back in high school, and Swedish is just for fun. So I am learning the majority of them right now, but I am focusing on Japanese the most. I spend anywhere from 5-30 minutes everyday on the other ones.
wow, awesome!!!! studying japanese is my main focus too!!! :-) And I started with portuguese when i just moved to brazil, but since i lived here i picked up the language quicker in real life then on duolingo!
This is what I keep telling people.Time is an important component of the learning process. Familiarity is much more important than memorization. Don't stress about whether you remember or not. Even when you aren't working on the language in your conscious working memory your brain is processing it. Children don't need grammar tables and flash cards to learn to speak. Racing ahead isn't going to teach you a language, exposure over time will. Which is why it is possible to learn as many languages as I have. I make progress in all of them while only working on a few at a time.
bookrabbit, how much time a day do you spend on duolingo? and for how long have you been doing it.
I take the hole summer off dulingo learning and when i get back to it i feel the same way.
Very good observation, which works when trying to learn any skill. Usually when you begin to feel frustrated with your progress ( or seeming lack thereof) sometimes a break of a couple of days, (or maybe a month or two) is just what the doctor ordered.
When you come back, it's sometimes amazing what you know or can do without effort that you had been previously struggling with.
Kpff, this happens to me a lot. I started trying to learn german but quickly got bored and gave up on it for like a year, but I've started learning again and I have so much motivation to learn not only German, but Spanish, Korean, Russian, Tagalog, and a bit of Japanese. languages can be super interesting and fun if you actually want to do it :)
Personally, I like to come here every other day when it's a little stressing. Playing games with japanese subs is a fun way to learn too!
I'm just motivated to learn something new every day; even if it is in the summer!
I took a month off Swedish, and I have never felt more motivated. I have been doing Duolingo for a few hours a day and talking to my friends in a little Spanish ( I ended up switching). My translating has also become really quick, almost automatic.
Hey you! Good to hear that! It's def where the streak system falls short, because then doing a lesson can easily become a daily inconvenience if you're not feeling up to it. Summer camp sounds fun as, wish we had them where I'm from. Good luck w/ your continued Japanese language learning!
それはいいです! (if that's wrong then rip me my efforts have been for nothing but I mean I am really tired sooo~)