The Emotional Roller Coaster of Language Learning Posted by meaghan on Apr 26, 2013 in Archived Posts
You’ve just decided to learn a language, and You. Are. Pumped. We’re excited for you, but we also feel the need to warn you, learning a language can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster…
Stage 1: SO! EXCITED!
You’re going to learn Spanish and impress your boss. You’re going to learn Arabic so you can finally speak to your husband’s family. You’re going to laugh along when the ladies at the nail salon make fun of you in Chinese, because the joke will finally be on them, right? Yes, you’re super excited right now, it’s all going to be SO MUCH FUN.
Stage 2: Very Confident
You’ve picked up some study materials, enrolled in a class, harassed every Brazilian-looking person in a 12 block radius to practice the 10 words you know in Portuguese. It’s new, it’s fun, it’s exciting! You’re going to be fluent in no time!
Stage 3: Moderately Less Confident But Still Determined
Hmm… you’ve made it past the first lesson, and all of the pleasantries are over. No more “Bonjour!”, a lot more –er, –ir, and –re verb conjugations. You feel so close to understanding all these new concepts, but you just keep getting STUCK.
Stage 4: Struggling
What IS that letter? Am I saying this right? Okay so speaking this is a little more difficult than expected. You may or may not have hocked a loogie on your cat while trying to roll your R’s, but he’ll get over it.
Stage 5: Paralyzing Self-doubt
Well now it’s just ridiculous!!! You know a few hundred words and you can ask for “more bread, please”, so you don’t really need to know anything else anyway, right? Subjunctive mood? Genitive case? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Stage 6: Regret
Wait, what was the word for “bread”? …I shouldn’t have quit learning, languages are awesome. What was I thinking?
Stage 7: Renewed Determination
Jump back to Stage 1—remember how TOTALLY FUN AND INTERESTING this language is!? Remember that you want tell your mother-in-law that you don’t actually like her cooking… in GERMAN!? That’s right, get motivated again. Find some new resources to make things fun. Watch funny Youtube videos in Italian. Read the Harry Potter novels translated into Dutch—they were written for a 14 year old? You don’t care, nothing can stop you now!
Stage 8: VICTORY!
You just had a conversation in another language… and they understood! That’s right, your Thai food order came out right, and It. Was. Delicious. Then of course you tried to ask the waiter for the check, and accidentally asked for his phone number. But, whatever. You’re conquering a new language, and it’s awesome!
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