Language learning intrigues me. I just love language. Whenever I hear Spanish I want to go over and engage in the conversation (because I can) and because I love speaking Spanish. The other day I was by some Japanese women in the bathroom and they started talking to me in Japanese and I so wanted to be able to communicate with them. I couldn’t, of course. I felt at such a loss. It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling when you can communicate in a language that isn’t your own. I’m currently studying Italian. I didn’t plan on it but it’s been so life giving and so fun for me. It hasn’t come without hardship or failure and it’s actually led me to write this post. Here are my 5 greatest hindrances to learning a new language.
Lack of motivation or interest.
It may seem like an obvious one to you, but it’s a huge reason people will not learn a new language. They may start off super motivated and excited and then a week or a month in completely lose interest to keep going. Learning a language takes time and it takes interest.
You have to find a way to learn that will keep you interested. Maybe it’s following a sport or a dubbed sitcom you like. Maybe it’s switching it up and taking a trip to the country for a week. Whatever you can do to stay motivated and interested is THE key!
I don’t have time.
It’s a very common excuse and one that I could use as well. Life is busy for all of us in pretty much every season. So carving out the TIME is essential. I found this statistic interesting. It takes 480 hours of study to reach basic fluency in a level 1 language (like Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French).
So at an hour a day, that is still 1.5 years! Ideally 2 or even 3 hours is best because it will fast track you to 5-9 months. I like to combine my walking with listening to podcasts or Pimsleur lessons in Italian.
I’m too old to learn a new language.
Not true! You can learn a new language at any age. Calvin was telling me about this woman who started to learn Portuguese at 76 years old! It’s possible, I promise. Our brains are incredibly capable of learning new languages at any age.
I’m can’t do this / I’m not smart enough.
Your mindset is key. If you believe you can’t you won’t, and if you believe you can, you will. You don’t have to be of a certain intelligence level to learn a new language. ANYONE can do it, including you! So change you mind and start believing today.
I am not in the country that speaks the language I want to learn.
This one was a barrier for me. I was thinking, how can I learn Italian? I don’t even know any Italians and I’m certainly not in Italy. Ideally, if you are able to be in the country, go! You will learn faster with full immersion. But it’s not impossible to learn from your living room.
I have been blown away with the free resources that are out there including: Duolingo, youtube, dubbed tv shows on Netflix, library apps that offer free audio/visual resources and more. Plus there are people that want to do Skype language exchanges where you can practice speaking their language and them yours. It’s so possible to learn a language even though you are not in the country where it’s spoken.
If you’re wanting to learn a new language, you can start today. Choose your language, set the time aside (we recommend 1 hour minimum/day), believe you can do it, pick some resources and GO FOR IT!
What about you? What are some things that were a hindrance for you in learning a new language and how have you overcome them?
Camille is a wife, mom of 2 babies under 4 and currently lives in Hawaii. She is passionate about seeking and following Jesus, health & fitness, and travel. You can also add being a life coach, speaking Spanish and Italian to her passions. She writes about her journey in motherhood, life overseas, and lessons learned along the way.