My Secrets for Language Learning

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Several aspects of language learning have similar elements in common with many of our daily activities. I would like to point out a few of them to you which I feel affect all too many people who attempt to learn a new language.

Negative thinking by learning a language

Allow me to make a recommendation. Make a list of things that you thought you would never learn how to do, and yet you later did learn how. Then, make a similar list of things that you thought you could not learn how to do and in fact, you could not. You will be surprised to see how much longer the first list will be. Am I wrong?

Believing that you can do something is half the battle. Convincing yourself, as you try, can be more challenging,  but there are ways to make that a lot easier too.

Make your life easy

Most people qualify language learning as a challenging and frustrating activity. Challenging because they anticipate the frequent anxiety caused by the many setbacks in understanding how the new language works. Frustrating because they want to be able to maintain a fluent conversation after only a couple of months of study.

Secretos aprendizaje idiomas
Secrets for Learning Languages


The key is to be realistic.  Some learn languages faster than others, for various reasons. This is true. In any activity, educational, sports, or in the world of art,  everyone needs to listen to their own “body clock”, which tells them when they should move on to a higher level of complexity. This is the main difference between private lessons or group courses. Imagine trying to learn how to play the piano with twelve other participants in the group. People learn at different speeds. More important, you cannot advance if you have not learned the material that you have covered so far. Language learning, perhaps more than any other activity, is a step-by-step procedure. Anyone who has taken a public course in language learning knows that everyone is given the same information, but not everyone learns at the same pace. Don’t you agree?


When I say “make your life easy“, I am referring to just that. Try to ensure that what you are trying to learn is suitable for the language level that you currently have. If you want to learn how to swim,  you don’t jump into the deep end of the pool. The same applies to languages. Make sure that what you are trying to learn is within your reach.  As a beginner or early intermediate learner, don’t expect to understand a film in your target language, just because you want to. The anxiety brought on by the inability to understand will destroy your self-confidence and put the language on your “leave it for tomorrow” list. If you are still learning the basics of the language, double-check that you really have learned something before moving on “to the next chapter”.


Read this article in Spanish.

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