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How to keep motivated when you feel like you're making the same mistakes!

I'm making the same damn mistakes and feel like I'm not learning from them! Agh!

Difficult to stop the 'language learning is just not for you' from infesting my brain at times when I just keep making silly little mistakes :'(

Feels bad man.

So for the serious part, favourite motivation techniques?

June 16, 2013



I've wanted to post this message so many times. Sometimes it feels like everyone else finds it easy except you. Everyone is different so you'll have to find your own path to success, but me, I didn't do anything different at all. I just didn't stop. I kept practicing every day, not because it was making sense, but because I didn't want to quit. It didn't feel like I was learning French, it just felt like I was repeating phrases, like a guinea pig trying to score tasty rewards from a research scientist.

I had to take a break recently and when I came back, my tree had been ravaged by the new degradation algorithm. I've been repeating old lessons to bring my scores back up and...I know the answers. Whether it's because I'm suddenly smart or whether it's because I've pounded my brain into squishy submission I don't know, but I'm finally beginning to feel better about myself and my learning. At some point, things just went in, without me even noticing. Not everything, but a lot of things.

I say, just keep going, even when it doesn't make sense. Even when you don't understand why you're wrong. Just keep going. Try and do a little every day and do it without the pressure of expecting results. You won't be a master right away and you will make mistakes. Many, many mistakes. But if you do keep at it, it will happen, eventually.

I've also taken a quick look at your skill tree and you're at the exact part (except in German, not French) where I wanted to give up. The grammary bits. Conjuctions, adverbs, adjectives, verbs, etc. I hate them with a fiery passion.


That's in a strange way comforting to know it's like that for some other people as well!

I think that's a key point that sometimes I need to just step back and remember, it's not a race - and there's no time frame with which I have to become good at the language! Maybe this as you say will take away the pressure of expecting results.

Yes, it's definitely tricky this grammar section. I've just recently bought a couple of books online that will hopefully arrive soon which will help, plus I've started to listen to the Michel Thomas CDs as pont suggested. So hopefully this way I'll be able to turn Duolingo into the great (and it really is great) supplementary resource rather than the primary one.

Thanks to all the other posters kind words too - what a fantastic community this website has - I wish everyone the best of luck and I'll be sticking at it for sure!


Become friends with people and try to beat their points...


http://www.fluentin3months.com has a lot of good insight into the motivation side of things. http://www.fluentin3months.com/make-mistakes/ is a good article on learning to embrace your mistakes.

Consider also supplementing Duolingo with other resources. DL is great but no single language learning method is perfect, and it's always helpful to have more than one perspective. I really like the Michel Thomas audio courses (often available in public libraries) for lots of practice in the grammatical nuts and bolts. And I often end up on http://german.about.com/ trying to consolidate my grammar, because sometimes I just want an overview table so I can see how all those ihns, ihnens, ihrs and ihms relate to each other.


I felt the same way, especially when I was going through the section on clitics. I find it helpful to write down the phrases as they are presented on the screen. I don't write the translation down, unless I flub it 2 or 3 times. Then I write the translation on the blank line underneath the phrase in red pen. I also make myself answer the "write this in italian" questions without recourse to the list on paper, though once I have written it I may check it against the written down version. This means I have better recollection of sentences I have seen before, because there's no particular order to the sentences (usually), and I might have to read two or three pages of sentences to find the exact one to ensure I've got it right before I click "check". As I go about my workday I try naming the things in my vicinity to the best of my vocabulary - if I have time on my hands, I think of sentences I know how to say that I would use to the people around me, either to ask them questions or to tell them something. I work in aged care, and a not inconsiderable number of my clients are Italian - many of them speak no English at all. Even if all I can say to them is "where is your bag" or "here is your dinner" or "it's time to take your medicine" or "time to go to bed", it brings a smile to their faces and makes me feel that I am actually learning something.


Figure out WHY you keep making the same mistakes. For example, I always mix up the words for "an" and "the". I figured out it's because I'm reading too fast. So I started slowing down and rereading to make sure it was right. Your mistakes might be totally different, but if you can pin down the cause of them, you can start fixing them.

Good luck!


I do the exact same thing and came to the exact same conclusion. I usually skim sentences instead of reading them fully. Bad habit.


did i write this? :) i have the same problem sometimes and it is frustrating. it is especially anoying when I am at the end, just one more sentence to finish and then I do it wrong... arghhh. and it happens often. maybe becouse the sentences at the end are usually the ones, that need to be translated from english to german, which is harder for me than the opposite. so sometimes I do the same excercise 5x and then maaaaaybe finish without any heart left :)


50,000 mistakes??? I'm well on my way. There is something from the Nemo movie that runs through my head when I feel like giving up on learning French---"just keep moving"


You just have to keep at it. Every three months or so you will notice that you have retained more. It's progressive two steps forward one step back kind of learning. Eventually, you remember more and more. Like building blocks.


I agree. This seems to be happening with me. I always tell myself "no pain no gain"


If I keep making the same mistakes, and I know that I know the answers, I like to just to go on to another subject that is open for me or do the 30 second challenge because I can get points for just revising and the timed practice makes it fun. I also like to hover over the words in the lessons because they can be actually quite helpful and they help me remember the words better if I can see the way it is spelt and where the accents are. If you do that you might feel like your cheating but your not, think of it as a easier way of memorizing the words.


I heard once that to really learn a language you have to make about 50,000 mistakes. I don't know if that is a scientific thing or not or if it is what a speaker was trying to convey. I took it to heart though. I focus on the fact that if I am making mistakes then I am making progress. Asking questions after making a mistake makes a huge difference.


Well,i heard it was 22 times you had to review but I'm sure I've made some mistakes at least that often. So, I'm off to 50,000


I learn through the mistakes! That's what my ESL teacher told me to repeat my Self. No one born with all the knowledge, Is it? So keep it up!


For me, some days are much harder than others—not sure why. I try to step back and think that there may be other things going on, or it's a sign to relax a bit. Some lessons are much more difficult than others, and some sentences are really tricky (or odd). When I keep making the same mistake, I'll copy the sentence into a document I can review later. Repetition, repetition. Sometimes after a grueling and somewhat miserable attempt to advance, I go back and my brain has finally processed something: that's really great when that happens. (And then sometimes I forget it again). Even when you get through the tree, you need to keep practicing and Duolingo continues to offer you challenges. Sometimes language learning is really hard going, but I feel like it helps you learn how to persevere in other aspects of your life, too. Be kind to yourself and keep fighting through it! And the suggestion to use other resources to supplement Duolingo is a good one, too. Practice a little bit every day, and slowly but surely your brain will forge those neural pathways! May the force be with you.


Motivation to learn a new language "I am not stupid, I can do this, I will do this". When you get frustrated just keep saying that and you'll get through it. Believe me I get frustrated a lot!


Just keeping on trying, I keep on doing the same mistakes as well but I pick myself up and keep on trying.


I think German is just a difficult language at the start as there is a lot of grammar you need right from the beginning. There is definitely a hump you have to get over. Much more so than when learning li Spanish or French.


Well I started to thumbs up so many posts re: keep trying I decided o just say to all like Peelyo-- read the psts here most are really wise and all are from experience. I've been motivated through them.

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