A colleague of mine once said to me, one must master reading, writing, speaking and listening when learning a new language. The skill(s) within these skills (writing – grammar, reading and speaking – pronunciation and intonation, and listening – pronunciation) is even more vital and shouldn’t be left out. If you’re thinking to learn a second language online, avoid these 5 common mistakes made by language learners when learning a new language.
Overly Excited Vs Extremely Motivated
Let me ask you this. Do you feel overly excited when you start learning a new language? People pretty much out there feel that way and that’s good because you’re not forcing yourself doing the thing you don’t like. What’s not good is being extremely motivated and lose it after a period of time. You spend so many hours learning it. When I say hours, I mean like 3-4 hours a day. You feel like you have to master it in a short period of time. Don’t do that. Learning a new language isn’t a race.
I bet you’ve heard the story of the turtle and the rabbit. Don’t be like the rabbit. Don’t go all out, save a little. You have to keep your excitement as well as your motivation balanced. If you think learning hours a day is totally ok, then, let me ask you – can you do it consistently, with the same hours without losing the same motivation? If you can, I really salute you then.
Grammar Vs Pronunciation
The most important question when it comes to learning a foreign language is, which one should you prioritize more, the grammar or the pronunciation?
I mostly learn foreign languages by copying what my teachers said or the dialogs from dramas or TV series. After all, we all learn by copying (like Kyle from Kyle XY) pretty much everything, not just in the language area.
I unintentionally expose myself to the language first. So, when I decided to start learning a foreign language, I’d naturally prioritize both because it’s equally important.
From my perspective, the importance of learning grammar and structuring your sentences correctly, though it doesn’t have to be perfect, so long as people understand what it is that you’re trying to convey, is as much important as pronunciation. Don’t choose grammar over pronunciation, and most certainly, don’t underestimate the power of pronunciation.
Do you know when your pronunciation would come in handy? It’s when you’re making a call, ordering a delivery service or making a reservation, etc. Don’t make an excuse like “I don’t know how to pronounce this and that”, when the fact is, you can just list down all the difficult words and start improving it. So, start paying extra attention to it– save yourself from embarrassment and stop making excuses.
Another vital skill people tends to neglect is listening. Do you know how many English homophones, homonyms, homographs, and heteronyms out there? Countless. It’s easy to get confused. Same like pronunciation, but the opposite, this skill would come in handy, when picking up a call and jotting down customer’s orders (delivery service/reservation), taking notes from classes and many more.
Don’t wait, Just Talk
When learning a second language, one needs to learn to practice and make use of any skills they have, be it writing or speaking. You’re good in writing – that’s great, but don’t just stop there, speak. You won’t know how good you are or how far you can go or how much you need/have to improve unless you start practicing it.
“I’m afraid my friends or people will laugh at me” – embarrassment is inevitable. Criticism is needed in order for you to improve so, learn to accept it with an open heart.
I was like that too, and yes, some of my friends laugh at my pronunciations. The thing I really hate the most was doing an English presentation in front of my classmates. So, what I did was, I overcome the embarrassment. I didn’t care about the grammar and the pronunciation, I just wanted to finish it.
Then, I worked like crazy polishing my pronunciation and care less about the grammar. The result is, I gained confidence when speaking in English. As time passed by, I learn to improve my grammar. I’m happy with where I’m right now with my English skills. I still don’t like doing presentations, though 😀
Resources And Methods
There are many ways, methods and resources out there you can reach the tip of your finger. When learning a foreign language, you may want to have all of those to diversify your way of learning. Don’t just stick to one resource/method. Ask help from Mr. Google to find it for you.
One needs to learn to break out of their comfort zone sooner or later. Sticking to the same old method for months isn’t going to help you much. You’ll end up quitting sooner you can imagine because you suffer from boredom. Failure to change your method is going to cost you that.
This one is more to mistake made by a language learner’s friend. When your friends talk in their second language and you spot the mistakes, be it grammar or pronunciation, what would you do? I guarantee most of you just let it go~ because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. I know your intention is good, but don’t do that too often.
As a friend, you should tell them and don’t let them proudly go around speaking in that language like everything is ok because no one “corrects” they way they speak. Don’t be too polite. Trust me, by doing this you’re helping your friends in many ways and not just saving them from being the laughing stock of your other friends.
In conclusion, all these skills are needed because they complete each other. Now that you know the common mistakes when learning a new language, try not to let the history repeats itself by avoiding those 5 common mistakes. You can apply all of the above to traditional learning methods as well.
Did I get your mistakes included on the list? If not, share with us below mistakes you have made. Let the others learn from your mistakes too.