The Difficulties of Learning a Foreign Language

Learning something anew is often a daunting task. Sometimes it might even seem impossible.

Recently I began climbing again. Climbing is one of the most interesting sports because it combines physical activity, strength, stamina, perseverance and problem solving. Every time I climb I challenge myself, sometimes I even feel a bit anxious before I go to the gym.

I want to send (ascend) all of my climbs, I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of my friends and perhaps I want to egotistically “look good” while doing it. Reality, however is far from that. I fall, sometimes I fail to send any climbs other than my practice ones, other times I hurt myself while trying and I often feel like I’m not making any progress. But those things certainly don’t stop me from going again and again. I try harder, I build a little bit of more muscle and problem solve a little bit better every next time. Check out my About page to learn more about me. 🙂

Bouldering over the sea.

 

When you begin learning a foreign language you need to practice your “muscle.”. In fact, when learning new things, our brains make new connections called synapses to cement those memories. But going from short-term memory to long-term memory require action on your part. And practice time and time money. You have no alternative to this, as the claim is that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become good at something. What does 10,000 hours equal to? That’s one whole year of full-time work. That means that even though you might be taking a language course which is once a week for two hours, you’d need to practice a lot more to master that language.

Encouragement

There is some consolation to all of this hard work if you are set on the path to learning. Once a new language is cemented in the brain, it is much easier to learn another after that. That’s because your brain has already made more connections is and has more practice at memorization. Think of this: a person who is bilingual has to remember at least 80,000 words! Your memory is already jogged by the time you get to the third.

Don’t give up, practice that muscle and the pay-off will come soon enough!

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