10 Problems Only a Language Lover Will Understand

Posted on 20. Aug, 2014 by in Language Learning

We language lovers need to stick together, because once the language bug bites, nobody understands your struggles (or your triumphs!) quite like the language-learning community. Here are 10 situations that only your language loving friends will truly understand. Have you experienced any of these situations?

1. When you procrastinate studying a language… by studying another one.
Because there’s no rest for the wicked, or for the language lovers.

2. When you encounter people having a conversation in a foreign language, you stalk them covertly until you can figure out what it is.
You’re not doing anything wrong… unless you get caught.

3. When people discover you speak another language and they ask you to “just say something”.
Love it or hate it, you better think of something clever to teach these people.

4. When you’ve spent so long studying languages that you can no longer recall a word in your native language.
Better start carrying around a pocket dictionary… in your native language.

5. When someone asks you why you’re learning that language, as if it’s impossible just to learn a language for fun.
Tired of the language haters? Send them this!

6. When someone uses the “everyone speaks English” argument.
There will never be enough hands to perform an adequate facepalm in response to that statement.

7. When people talk about you in a foreign language assuming you don’t speak it… but you do.
You know what they say about people who assume…

8. When you begin parler en multiple idiomas at the same tiempo.
Learning sign language may come in handy for those times when your tongue is too twisted.

9. When you recognize all of the individual words in the sentence you’re reading, but put together they make no sense.
Whatever you do, do NOT rely on Google Translate in these situations.

10. When all you can think about is which language you’ll learn next, even though you can’t keep up with the languages you’ve already learned.
Because really, once you pop, the fun don’t stop!


Some language learner problems are quite the laugh, but others, not so much! Having trouble fitting a language into your routine? Our eBooks are full of expert tips to help you overcome these less-than-laughable problems.

10 Ways to Make More Time for Language Learning

10 Ways to Make More Time for Language Learning

15 Habits of Successful Language Learners

15 Habits of Successful Language Learners

About meaghan

Meaghan is the Social Media Coordinator for Transparent Language, aka the messenger of language news to twitterverse. She once had a love/hate relationship with French, but the two are now very happy together, although one time she was a little unfaithful with a semester of Hausa lessons. @meagmcgon

44 Responses to “10 Problems Only a Language Lover Will Understand”

  1. Marsha C 20 August 2014 at 10:30 am #

    So true – really enjoyed the content. Too many gifs (but theya re pretty silly, too). I must admit I am guilty of…every…single…one…Sigh…

  2. Marsha C 20 August 2014 at 10:31 am #

    Hausa – were you in Niger?

    • meaghan 20 August 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Yes! Way back in 2009 I spent a semester abroad in Niger. Not your typical study abroad, huh? 🙂

  3. bizzle 20 August 2014 at 10:58 am #

    8. Your*

    • meaghan 20 August 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Busted! Thanks for the correction. 🙂

  4. oktypok 20 August 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Actually, the advice to learn sign language is a little misleading. Each natural language has its own sign language counterpart, so just like your tongue can get dissy, so can your hands – sign languages do differ as well.

    • meaghan 20 August 2014 at 11:47 am #

      Ah, yes, touché! Very good point that I didn’t consider while trying ever so hard to be witty. 🙂

    • Maria 15 October 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      It is not true that each natural language has its own sign language counterpart, e.g. the main spoken languages in Spain are Spanish, Catalan, Galician and Basque; however, there are only two sign languages, Spanish Sign Language and Catalan Sign Language.

    • Shan 2 March 2016 at 10:38 am #

      Not only that but it varies country to country. Australian sign language is completely different to US sign language, for example.

  5. Mats Erik 20 August 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    I constantly read B as V, H as N, U as Y etc.. yes, I’m learning russian hehe.

    #9 I’m very familiar with, and also being familiar with the word, but not remembering what it means! For me, this goes especially for russian words. arghh 🙂

    • PEHook 28 August 2014 at 10:44 am #

      I used to live on Cape Cod, in CHATHAM. Or was it Snotnam?

    • Servan 23 July 2015 at 5:31 am #

      I know that feeling bro

  6. pmdeltoro 20 August 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    Trevligt post saying todas las verdades about people que älskar los språk… 😉

  7. Libby 20 August 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    Truth! And I actually journal in all the different languages I know so no one can decipher it… Mwahahahahah 🙂

    • Mache 20 October 2014 at 8:01 am #

      Haha, unless one of us comes around….. Then we’ll know all your secrets 😉

  8. Maegen Fariss 21 August 2014 at 9:35 am #

    or when sentences in your native language sometimes have the grammatical word order of the new language you are learning…

  9. Lingholic 21 August 2014 at 10:56 pm #

    Awesome post Meaghan, truly hilarious! Will definitely share this one with my readers 🙂

  10. Michael Ellis 22 August 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Great article, Meaghan. We’ll share it with our Language community on Google+. Mike

  11. Yannis Haralambous 24 August 2014 at 6:24 am #

    Κι ἄσε πιὰ τί γίνεται ὅταν μπλέκονται τὰ ἀλφάβητα μεταξύ τους…

  12. Saïd 25 August 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Ah the chills of excited guilt.

  13. Nicolas 26 August 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    damn I didn’t read again to check the mistakes 😛
    *And my personal biggest problem of them all about my love to languages : You want to learn them all, and you want to speak them the soonest possible… but you don’t know with which on to start, and you get frustrated not being able to speak at least some of them already!!!!!

  14. louise 9 September 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    You didn’t mention the one about knowing the answer to a crossword clue but in the wrong language and being frustrated it doesn’t fit.

  15. Malachi Rempen 9 September 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    I love these. I’m going to steal some for Itchy Feet! I’m constantly stopping and stalking people around public places until I can figure out what language they’re speaking, much to the irritation of whoever I’m with.

    Me: “It sounds like Dutch…Danish maybe? Could be Scandinavian, now that I’m listening closely-”
    My friend: “WHO CARES”

  16. Andy 10 September 2014 at 7:33 am #

    The biggest frustration is when I mix up the Chinese and English grammar. I write in English using Chinese grammar and I write in Chinese using English grammar

  17. Donniexpat 11 September 2014 at 8:22 am #

    Word !

  18. La traductora compulsiva 14 October 2014 at 7:51 pm #

    Number 8 is hilarious!

  19. Kelly 17 October 2014 at 2:36 am #

    Wow, I didn’t know there were others out there like me!! Good to know 🙂

  20. Christine 17 October 2014 at 11:51 am #

    Story of my life! Glad to see how many others there are

  21. Alana - eSpectacularKids 18 October 2014 at 7:44 am #

    I can certainly agree with number 8… Spanglish has become mi segundo idioma 🙂 Glad to see language loving is widespread!

  22. javi 21 October 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    You understand me do well. At last I ferl understood.

  23. Aadit 11 December 2014 at 9:39 am #

    The eight un fue the best. Me gusta parler en various langues!

  24. Olga 13 January 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    Ha ha, this is really true. I also liked the 8th! It happens very often to me. Great article!

  25. NocyMrok 14 February 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    AD. no 4.

    NEVER! I love and respect my native language!

    AD. no 7.

    Happens quite often.

    AD. no 8.

    Actually it’s the other way around and it’s like that everytime when i see an effort of someone of non-slavic origin trying to get a grasp on my native language (Polish). Gotta love those declensions, genders and seven cases in Polish, huh? ;)))

  26. Σερβαν 23 July 2015 at 5:28 am #

    I’ve experienced almost all of them… Languages rule!

  27. John - SpeakLikenNative 31 December 2015 at 8:02 am #

    Haha, Totally love number 5 :D. It always happens to me. Like what? You are learning languages just for fun?

    And also number 9 is true. Sometimes I need to read a sentence for several times until I get the right meaning :).

  28. Eduardo Araújo 23 March 2016 at 9:01 am #

    I’m learning esperanto,and everyone says that “why esperanto if english exists?”

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