Here at MosaLingua we’re a bunch of language lovers and we speak several languages! How did we get here? We are motivated to reach language fluency, so we found a learning method that fits our lifestyle. We dare to open our mouths to speak even if we know we’re not perfect!
The reason behind this little tribute to our readers and the MosaLingua team is to put an end to the well-known (bad) excuses that are stopping quite a lot of people, and maybe even you, from reaching fluency with a new language. Today, we’ll be looking at the most common excuses and the scientific reasons as to why you should not use them anymore.
Want to Reach Language Fluency? No More Excuses.
1. “I’m Too Old to Learn…”
One of the most common excuses heard today is that at a certain age, we aren’t able to learn a new language, or learn anything new for that matter. Yet, and we’ve shown this here, our capability for learning has nothing to do with age. Studies have proved that our brain is in constant evolution: it develops, evolves, and grows continuously. The scientific term for brain growth is neuroplasticity. If our brain does not experience aging, why should our ability to learn a language deteriorate?
Additionally, while it has been shown that children have got it easy when memorizing new things such as phonics and vocabulary, older people also have certain advantages. Among them are:
- Motivation to learn, which plays a much greater role in your ability to buckle down and learn.
- Verbal communication allows us to express ourselves during the learning process.
- Metacognitive skills, the ability to associate a new word with an experience or memory through the repetition of doing it again as before.
So, there’s no point saying that you’re too old to reach language fluency. The only thing that is too old is this excuse!
2. “Learning a Language is Boring!”
It is true that it is not that fun learning a language when you’re having to memorize its irregular verbs by heart or having to use consistent grammar rules when you hardly understand why they exist in the first place. However, in this day and age, nobody should ever have to learn a language this way! Nowadays, thanks to the internet, it is possible to learn a language in its entirety all while having fun by:
- Watching movies.
- Watching a series.
- Reading a nice book.
- Listening to the radio.
- Talking with a native speaker from around the world.
There are so many possibilities that will easily allow you to find a method that adapts to your goals and abilities. Are you, for example, into finding good movies? You’ll probably enjoy reaching language fluency by simply watching films… To acclimate yourself to your abilities and level, you could start watching a movie with subtitles in your native language (for beginners), then with subtitles in English (for intermediate learners), and finally without subtitles (for experts). This method, apart from the fact that it requires you to relax, helps you work on your oral comprehension and your vocabulary. This technique has been proven by a group of American researchers, check out the link to see for yourself: watching movies with subtitles in the original language helps improve comprehension.
3. “I Can’t Adapt to This Method“
Now, we have all heard the excuse that goes along the line: “I can’t adapt to this method.” The thing is, you shouldn’t have to adapt to any method: you should only find a method that is able to fit you and your lifestyle. The MosaLingua apps help you learn flashcards with phrases (sorted by themes such as tourism, food and meeting people) and to revise them whenever you feel like it, making sure the timing of your revisions follow the forgetting curve (explained in this article). It’s up to you to use it how you want and when you want. Do you commute using the subway? Have extra free time after lunch? You could use this otherwise wasted time to learn and revise flashcards.
4. “I Do Not Have the Time”
Lies! We always have the time. Learning a language, any language, is not about sitting on a chair and listening to a person for an hour or so reading and spelling out words to be memorized. At least, it shouldn’t be that way. In today’s world, there are methods to help you familiarize yourself bit by bit with the language you want to learn, even when you don’t have the time for revisions. Try some of these:
- Change the language setting of your phone/computer/social media to English (for non-English natives). Yes, you will be mainly learning vocabulary associated with menus and settings, but it’s still new vocabulary you’ll quickly have down without much effort.
- Listen to podcasts more than you do in your own language.
- Do not watch films in your native language. Our advice is to choose movies in the language you’re learning with or without subtitles, depending on your level.
- Read newspapers (or news webzines) in English more than you do in your language.
- Talk to yourself in the target language for help with pronunciation as well as speaking confidence.
5. “I’m Too Shy/Embarrassed to Speak” or
“I’m Too Scared of Making Mistakes”
Before using these excuses, remember that any person has learned a new language has done so through mistakes and practice. The only way to reach language fluency is to speak it. If you’re scared of making mistakes… tough! Mistakes help you improve, so get used to making some and picking yourself back up to try again.
Chatting on the internet with a language partner is one of the most efficient and fun ways to learn a language fluently. This method also allows you to test your level. Who could be better at helping you understand where you make mistakes and how not to make them again than a native speaker? Native speakers fluidly converse, teaching you what a textbook simply can not.
This method is great for talking frequently (something you need to do to learn a language fluently), all while having someone to stop and show you where you make mistakes so you don’t repeat them.
How can you find a language partner? We’ve compiled a list of the best sites for a language exchange here… Good luck!
Before looking for correspondents with whom to speak, make sure you download our phrasebook. If you’re shy, it can help you practice before your first conversation. One last thing: it’s free!
Please note: this excuse is similar to this one: “the best way to learn a language is to live in that country… I can’t”. Although it is true that living in a country to learn a language can only help you attain that goal, but if moving abroad is not feasible, you can simply find language exchange partners to submerge your learning with the native culture!
6. “I’m Not Skilled With Languages“
Another excuse I often hear? “I’m not skilled with languages.” As if there are people who are better at learning languages than others, this is simply not the case. To revise, it is possible that some people are more motivated than others! When it comes to learning a new language, it narrows down to having patience, being serious, staying organized, and especially being motivated. Motivation is what helps us improve and better yet, picks us up when we do not first succeed.
Goals: How are you supposed to find motivation when you have no goals in reaching language fluency?
Think of it like putting a carrot on a stick to make a mule go forward. Just as when you want to make a stubborn mule move forward, you’re supposed to put a metaphorical carrot in front of your eyes, making you walk to get it. If you want to successfully learn a language, you need to find a carrot, one that will push you to keep moving forward. Why learn that language? To travel, for that exam, to get a job abroad, for that cute girl/guy, to experience new cultures, so you can say you did it.
When you’ve reached one of your goals (your carrot), you will be even more motivated to revise new goals so you can learn the language, which is essential for being an avid learner.
So, now you know what you have to do to learn your language of choice: find your carrot, stop using those lame excuses, and use a learning method that molds to you and your lifestyle perfectly. Good luck, you’ll reach language fluency soon enough!
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