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Your biggest language learning problem


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Hi everyone!

Nishikata here, eager learner of Japanese.

For my first post I want to ask what is the biggest problem you have faced with your language learning and how have you overcome it?

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In general my biggest problem is telling anyone about my language learning.
People usually don't understand it, so I need to explain them why and how.

Each time I get complimented, questioned or whatsoever, I feel like "oh shit, there we go again".
Then they ask me stuff like "wow, say something in (LANGUAGE_HERE)", where I get frozen for a while.
Mainly because I don't know what to say, since just saying "something" is idiotic and I can never think of an example sentence that makes me sound like a pro.
But when I asked them "what do you want to hear", they just say "oh, just saying "hello, my name is (NAME_HERE)" is fine too".

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For me it's finding the right program that makes learning a consistent pace that I am comfortable with. Sometimes I can't find time regularly so I'll end up putting off the continuation of my lessons and by the time I get back to it I've already somewhat forgotten about previous lessons. This is why I try as much as possible to at least keep my learning as regular as possible so I don't end up having to relearn all the previous words or phrases I've already learned since it's such a big waste of time and effort to redo them constantly. 

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I think getting frustrated with the hard parts of a certain language are the biggest problems anyone faces. But you just have to stick with it and you will eventually get through it for sure.

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For me it's learning words that sound similar to another language you already know. I can easily end up slipping into a language I know better midway through a sentence because that seems easier and the way my brain wants to take it. Especially if I'm trying to learn more than one language at the same time. 

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20 hours ago, Blaveloper said:

Then they ask me stuff like "wow, say something in (LANGUAGE_HERE)", where I get frozen for a while.

How about saying "I never used to know what to say when people ask me that."   :)

 

 

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Hmm, a number of you have mentioned boredom / frustration.

Do you think that's due to the language (i.e. maybe a different language would be better) or due to the methods? Maybe a bit of both?

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My biggest problem with Dutch is the fact it's so hard to find decent language exchange buddies :P  Nah, just kidding. My biggest problem right now is growing my vocabulary.  I need to grow my vocabulary before I learn more about grammar, so when I do I have no issues forming new sentences and such :) Knowing as many new words as possible it's super important, because in that way I'm sure I'll be speaking dutch in no time!  I need to learn new words and colloquial expressions. 

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I had two issues on my journey to learn Spanish.  The first was verb conjugations.  I found them to be so confusing! Luckily, with a lot of practice, I got the hang of it!! The other issue I had was how quickly people speak! Spanish tends to blend together when spoken quickly so I had a lot of trouble understanding! I took the time to watch TV soap operas in Spanish and practice understanding and listening.  When the women get mad on those shows they speak a mile a minute!! It was a great way to get used to hearing people speak quickly! 

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I don´t think my problem can be solved.  I think the internet is the problem, or at least text messages on cell phones.   30 years ago, languages were much more formal and what you read in books was ´the language´..  but nowadays, especially with anyone under 30, languages are changing drastically and becoming much less formal and structured.   Slang is getting incorporated into language much faster than it used to in the past.  And for languages like spanish, the actual language is being fragmented very rapidly in latin america.  The amount of expressions and idioms that exist in different regions is amazing.

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My biggest problem is finding the time to practice. I do not know how people can practice for hours at a time. I am too busy trying to figure out how to live life and I can't dedicate a few hours a day to it. How do you guys find the time? 

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My biggest problem is actually speaking the language. I can usually grasp the other parts like reading, writing, comprehending, and listening quite fast, but I can't speak the language to save my life. It's the hardest part for me. I guess it's because I can't think on the spot. It's also partly my fault because I lack confidence so I didn't get a good foundation on speaking when I first started learning the language. 

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7 hours ago, sillylucy said:

My biggest problem is finding the time to practice. I do not know how people can practice for hours at a time. I am too busy trying to figure out how to live life and I can't dedicate a few hours a day to it. How do you guys find the time? 

Don't practise a few hours straight every day, or you will get tired in a few days.
What I do instead is finding any moments I don't do anything, even if that's as short as 2 minutes, and use that time for language learning.
It seems very little, but it adds up a lot over time.

Practise 30 minutes a day with a native speaker and use stuff like books, videos, music, apps, etc. during the rest of the day.

Waiting in a queue in your local supermarket? Apps.
Commuting to work by train? Books.
Break time during work? Videos.
Being at work? Music.

Just to name a few examples.

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My biggest problem with the language I've been learning (German) has probably been learning what verbs and prepositions work together. Since this is my first foreign language, I never realized how fidgety prepositions are in many languages. There aren't really reasons to why certain prepositions are used, you just have to learn what goes with what. It really can only come through more and more exposure to the language until you develop that knack for what 'sounds right'. That's why it's never a bad thing to have more input of whatever language you're learning - more exposure to it can only help you and adapt your brain to this new challenge of learning a foreign language.

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For me it probably would be grammar and context clues, and proper tenses of words. A lot of languages also have masculine/feminine versions of words and different ways to say it properly. Sometimes all of those rules can get completely confusing. Also the lack of practice, not having someone to practice conversations with in a new language makes for a big learning handicap. 

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On 4/30/2016 at 0:20 AM, Miya said:

My biggest problem is actually speaking the language. I can usually grasp the other parts like reading, writing, comprehending, and listening quite fast, but I can't speak the language to save my life. It's the hardest part for me. I guess it's because I can't think on the spot. It's also partly my fault because I lack confidence so I didn't get a good foundation on speaking when I first started learning the language. 

Hahahaha, same here!  Just a couple weeks ago I thought my Dutch was much better, but when I tried to actually speak it (instead of writing it) I realized I just can't to do it right now.  Maybe we are getting too nervous to remember the meaning of the words we can use?  I know I do ;)  I guess subconsciously I feel a bit concerned about saying things wrong, or sound too funny... I feel I sound so weird when I speak dutch.  I guess I must get used to it! Moving to the Netherlands soon, so it better be soon...

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Funny enough, when I started studying Japanese my biggest problem was learning the Hiragana and Katakana. I even had a notebook dedicated to practicing them, which I still have somewhere. Sadly, I lost motivation and time to continue studying Japanese, but I'll come back to it somewhere down the line. It's really a beautiful language. I know it sounds dumb, but my original motivation to start studying Japanese was the Japanese version of Let It Go from Frozen. I heard it once and it was gorgeous. The language flowed so naturally.

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For me, it has to be allotting time for language learning. As a mom and also a stay at home employee, it's difficult to fit everything in my schedule. There's the household chores, the taking care of the baby and at night, working. So it's a miracle if I even get at least five hours of sleep in a day. But I love learning new languages so I make it a point to fit it in even if it's only during the weekends. I try and review a few words here and there during the weekdays but that's about it. It's only during the weekends that I get to fully immerse myself into language learning. And sometimes, since I do become tired and restless, the weekends become my catch-up sleep days. 

With the actual language learning, I guess it has to be knowing whether what I'm doing is right or wrong. Lol. I just rely on online materials and resources to learn a language and somehow, this isn't enough. I know at some point that I have to either enrol in a class or at least get a language buddy to perfect my speaking and writing skills. However, at this time, it's just not possible for me, due to money and time constraints. But it's one of my goals, I think learning from a professional or at least someone who speaks the language, can be beneficial for me.

I guess that's about it... As much as there are struggles with language learning, I love it still and won't be giving up on it easily.

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My biggest problem is mostly alloting time to focused language learning too. Is easy to let passive learning do the job but that's useless without devoting some serious time into active learning. My second problem was looking for language exchanges, I'm not quite sociable therefore Is hard for me to look for language learning buddies.

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For me I just try learning alone without much structure or a program so it's difficult to stay consistent and diligent but it does work for me for what I am trying to achieve since what I'm learning is more just a secondary goal because I have already learned some extra languages and these new ones I am learning mostly Just as a hobby and for fun so I am more able to take it slowly. What I have always found difficult, though, was forgetting what I have learned when I don't get enough opportunities to practice them regularly.

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My biggest problem is how to word sentences, at least in German so far. It's so hard knowing where words go, and I'm still struggling with it. I also don't quite understand the umlaut u. Staying motivated is also a major challenge for me, though I've remedied that by talking to more German folks. Also, listening to German music reminds me how beautiful the language is. Sometimes, I really want to push myself and I make myself feel bad because I'm not learning very fast. I also have a terrible time memorizing vocabulary.

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