Here’s one of the best things about being part of a community like FI3M:
It isn’t just about sharing how we succeed. Sometimes sharing how we struggle can be even more important.
Every language learner has struggles. And a lot of them experience the same exact struggles as you.
But it’s really easy to forget this – to feel like it’s just you.
In language learning, realizing you are not alone is powerfully motivational.
I recently emailed the members of the Language Hacking League and asked a very simple question:
What’s your #1 biggest problem in language learning?
I got over 2,000 responses! I could relate to a lot of them myself at various stages in my own language learning projects – it just goes to show, that you aren’t alone in your struggles.
Here’s are just a few of the stories I read in my inbox.
I lose my motivation
“It's really easy to avoid learning when no one's behind your back testing you, but your emails are working to push me!” – Bedoor
“The key challenge for me is self-discipline.” – George
“The number 1 thing I struggle with on a simple everyday basis is just knowing what
to do!! It can be a little overwhelming. I don't like routine so much and need to vary my learning otherwise I'll become bored and give up.” – Karen
“I sometimes feel that it is difficult to always stay motivated, focused and upbeat, especially when I hit a roadblock.” – Joanie
“Sometimes I just want to do something else! I get bored of practicing and just want to watch a movie in English.” – Elaine
I don’t have the time
“I've been studying English for all my life, since school. And a year ago I decided to start Spanish. The main problem for me was “no time”. (I have a family and a small business).” – Ольга
“Working, studying, spending time with my wife and 2 daughters, as well as building house … does not leave me with enough time to spend on my target language.” – Reza
“I’ve realized that I have to maintain EVERY language I hope to learn on a daily basis… so I’m trying to balance that.” – Robert
“Since my trip to Italy, work and life have gotten in the way, and I've lost most of it. My biggest thing is time. I try to spend 10 minutes a day, but after a few weeks, I'll start putting it off, then it will be several weeks before I start up again, and it's like starting over.” – David
I’m not confident enough to speak the language
“The problem is that I've been teaching myself French for four years, and I can comprehend almost all written French. However, I can speak very little and understand even less of the spoken word. I haven't found a way to practice my spoken French at all, and while I sometimes will talk to myself in French or listen to French music, it's far from what I should be doing to gain mastery of the language.” – Devorah
“I am not able to think quickly enough to converse. Even when my tutor speaks slowly using words she knows that I (should) know, I can't translate quick enough in my head. Same for when I am speaking back. I am thinking of the sentence in English, then translating it, applying rules, checking my translation is correct, then speaking it. The moment is lost.” – Robert
“My biggest problem is with speaking. Yes, I do get worried about making a mistake, but more than that, my mind tends to go completely blank. “ – Erica
I don’t know which resources will help me
“I begin to feel overwhelmed with all the resources I could use, and then lose focus on how to use them effectively.” – Yvonne
“Finding materials is challenging. Also, to prepare for speaking in Spanish it turns out that videos I find are the wrong dialect for what I was trying to learn.” – Robert
“With so many apps and other new-fangled gadgets out there, how can you choose the best one?” – Steve
I can’t recall the right vocabulary
“The number one thing I'm struggling with would probably be vocabulary. I often read a lot, [and] talk to many people, so I know it isn't for lack of that.” – Ayame
What’s Your #1 Biggest Problem in Language Learning?
Do any of these resonate with you?
We had thousands of responses from people with a wide range of situations, goals and target languages. Even so, there were clear patterns in the problems language learners faced.
Over the next few months we’ll be sharing resources, articles and courses to help you tackle these problems.
If you haven’t yet answered the question, let us know in the comments: What’s your number one challenge in learning a language?
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.