The first and most common mistake that adult language learners make is irregular exercising.
Many adults who want to improve their language skills sign up for weekly language courses at a community college or adult education center.
In addition to this one weekly lesson, most adult learners do basically nothing for their language learning project. It’s clear that this pace is way too slow to result in any real improvement in their language skills.
The key to achieving real conversational fluency is doing something every day.
Immerse yourself in the language and try to expose yourself to the language you are studying nearly every day – at least in some little way.
- Complete a few WordDive exercises while enjoying your morning cereal,
- browse a couple of foreign-language blog posts or news articles on your lunch break or
- listen to some songs in the language you are studying before going to sleep.
Trust me, you’ll notice a huge difference in the pace of your progress!
Another very common mistake among learners (of any age) is getting stuck on details.
A language learner must learn to deal with constant uncertainty. There seems to be an endless amount of new vocabulary and grammar to learn. If you get anxious every time you encounter a new word or an irregular verb, learning gets very distressing.
It’s difficult to get rid of perfectionism, but it’s the only way to learn a new language.
What you should do instead:
- Start with very easy material. You’ll get experiences of success and get excited.
- Don’t get stuck on the complexity of grammar. Focus on learning simple words and phrases.
- Get accustomed to hearing native speakers’ fast-paced conversation by listening to the radio in the language you are studying.
In the beginning, there is no need to look up every unfamiliar word you encounter, or understand why a word is sometimes inflected like this and other times like that. Just take it easy – you’ll have plenty of time to learn the grammar along the way.
The third mistake that significantly slows down the learning process is focusing too much on one resource.
Why get stuck on only one service or source of material when you have an endless amount of free or very affordable language learning resources, waiting for you just a few clicks away?
- In addition to WordDive, you can use videos and podcasts. For instance, try TuneIn, an app that offers over a hundred thousand radio stations and millions of podcasts, streaming from every continent.
- Take advantage of free language partner apps like HelloTalk, Speaky and Italki Partners. Even if it feels scary to start chatting or skyping with a native speaker, it’s definitely the most efficient way to learn a new language.
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