A colleague of mine once said to me, that 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) are even more vital and shouldn’t be left out.
If you’re thinking of learning a second language online avoid these 5 common mistakes made by language learners.
Overly Excited Vs Extremely Motivated
Do you feel overly excited when you start learning a new language? Other people feel the same way as well and that’s good because you’re not forcing yourself to do the thing you don’t like.
What’s not good is being extremely motivated and losing it after a while. 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 and motivation balanced.
If you think learning hours a day is totally ok let me ask you this. 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 (vocabulary)
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 say or the dialogue from TV series or movies. After all, we learn by copying pretty much everything not just in the language area.
I unintentionally exposed 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 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, 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 them.
So, start paying extra attention to it. Save yourself from embarrassment and stop making excuses.
Same as 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 at writing – that’s great, but don’t just stop there, speak.
You won’t know how good you are, 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 for you to improve so, learn to accept it with an open heart.
I was like that too, and yes, some of my friends laughed at my pronunciations. The thing I really hated the most was doing an English presentation in front of my classmates. So, what I did was let go of 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 couldn’t care less about the grammar. The result is I gained confidence when speaking in English. As time passed by I learned to improve my grammar. I’m happy with where I am 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 might want to have all of those to diversify your learning. Don’t just stick to one. 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 than you can imagine because you suffer from boredom. Failure to change your method is going to cost you that.
This one is more of a 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. 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” them. 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 complement each other. Now that you know the common mistakes when learning a new language, try not to let history repeat itself. 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. Let others learn from your mistakes too.