Learning a new language is difficult and there is no doubt in that but it can become even more difficult if you make mistakes and do not learn in the effective and efficient way. In the article we are going through some of the most common mistakes language learners make while learning a new language.
Not giving yourself enough time to learn
Most language learners are not aware of the actual time it is going to take them to learn a new language. It may come to you as a surprise that according to FSI learning an easy language up to intermediate level needs about 400 hours of practice. That means you need to practice 1 hour each day for more than a year to get there. And it can increase to around 700 hours for more difficult languages. So you need to bring down your expectations and be patient especially in the beginning. It is going to be a long journey.
The other important point here is to practice on a regular basis. You need to allocate small amounts of time each day for practicing and it can be very helpful if you make your practice sessions more fun; this way you will learn and be entertained at the same time.
Not starting with the sounds and listening
We usually start learning languages by reading. We read educational content and learn vocabulary or grammar. It is actually a very effective way of learning but has a weak point. You may simply neglect learning pronunciation and strengthening your listening skill. Therefore, it is important to start listening to that language right from the start. You should also spend some of your time practicing, working on your listening skill. In languages like French and English language in which pronunciation is complicated you should learn each word with its pronunciation. This will prevent pronunciation mistakes in the future and save you a lot of time. Even if you are using a dictionary, try learning IPA (international phonetic alphabet) and learn words pronunciation by reading them in IPA.
Getting discouraged by your mistakes
Making mistakes is part of the learning process. Not only in learning languages but in learning anything we learn from our mistakes. Interestingly our brain has a mechanism to concentrate more on our mistakes and is less likely to forget them. Of course it does not mean that you should try making mistakes or encourage them, but do not let yourself lose interest in learning a language just because you keep making mistakes. Concentrating on your mistakes can increase your stress level which can lead to more mistakes.
Underestimating receptive skills
Most language learners try to work on their expressive skills which are speaking and writing. This is expected because we all want to use our language skills to communicate with others. However, studies have shown that there is a direct link between learning receptive skills and improving expressive skills. It means improving you listening skill can help you with your speaking and since improving listening is far easier than speaking it is a very effective way.
It is important to mention that you should not overlook speaking and writing. In order to achieve language proficiency, you need to improve all four skills.
Focusing too much on grammar
Grammar is the rules by which words in each language behave or react. Learning grammar is a part of the language learning process and it can help to reach language proficiency and prevent mistakes. However, Learners especially those with academic backgrounds, tend to focus too much on learning grammar against practicing and improving their language skills. You have probably met one of those people who know all about a language but cannot talk or write in that language.
Learning grammar is like learning how a bicycle works. Knowing how a bicycle works may help you use it better but it can never teach you how to really ride one. In order to learn how to ride a bicycle you need to start doing it.