3 things to know before learning a language

1. Learning takes a long time

Most know this but teachers don’t like to discuss it. Let’s face it it’s not a great sales pitch. This rarely discussed reality leads many to assume the language learning dropout rate is high because learning a language is difficult, and that the few who succeed must have a gift for language. Both of these assumptions are wrong. Those who succeed are persistent. We have all successfully learned at least one language before, we’ve just forgotten how long it took.

2. Spending one hour a week won’t work

Many language schools sell these types of courses, not because they think they will work but because people are busy and such courses fit their busy schedules. However, a minimum intensity is required. Any skill that requires “automation” like speaking or swinging a golf club requires intensive and sustained repetition. New words are like young plants: without regular watering they don’t survive.

3. You will feel stupid

In the early stages of learning you will feel stupid. You can’t have a conversation, nothing you read makes sense and your writing is often incomprehensible. This is normal. Babies spend years uttering broken sentences and mispronounced words but we don’t think they are stupid.

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