- Protected: Momentum Over Position: How the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Can Help You Learn Faster
- The Eternal Sorrow of the Intermediate Learner: “Are We There Yet?” Syndrome
- When Will I Get Funny?
- Intermediate Angst: Dealing With Feelings of Suckage
- Strategies for Overcoming Burnout
- Grinding: Focus On What You CAN Do
- Max Out The Cause Card: The Omnipotence of Precursors
- Intermediate Goals, Mini-Dreams
- Step Into the Sunlight, But Don’t Look Into the Sun
- Getting There Is Also Your Life
- Start Dirty: Why A Clean Slate Is Bad For You and What To Do About It
- How to Stop Worrying and Accept that Learning a Language is Unfair — Going Beyond Day Trader Style Language Learning
- Mastery is Mastering the Basics
- Language Is Peeing: The Approximately Top Ten Reasons Why Language Acquisition = Micturition
- The Intermediate Phase Is Like Tepid Tea, But That’s Fine, Because Tepid Tea is Hotter Than Ice Tea
Often enough, a comment puts it much better than I ever put it. This was one such situation. Handsome AJATTeer Pingfa brings us back to basics, urging us to focus on what we can do, on what we can control, on our point(s) of maximum power and traction.
There’s a quote I read once that I really like (big aphorism collector here). It goes something like: ordinary people try to do what they can’t do; the true hero simply does what he can do. Once you stop whining and complaining and worrying about what you can’t do, you realize that there’s far more that’s within your power than you give yourself credit for. You become resourceful, like MacGyver with his Bisquick. You don’t necessarily become MacGyver; he had his tools and you have yours (plus he’s fictional). But you do become like him, which is the point really.
How do you get where you want to go? By moving in that direction. How do you move in that direction? By using whatever means of locomotion are readily available to you at that particular place and time. Ancient people didn’t refuse to walk until horses had been tamed, or refuse to ride until cars had been invented. Stop wanting to know whether or not it works. It works. It’s working. Move already.
The best way to do get over doubts about a language is to put aside the doubts and break down what you know you can do for sure.
You can learn words. That’s a guarantee. Maybe you won’t always understand the context, but it’s easy learning a word. Look it up, look it up again, win.
Even if you know absolutely nothing about the sentence structure, one thing anyone without a significant mental retardation is guaranteed to be able to do is learn a word. Learn all the words within a sentence and you can piece them together. Even if you know all the words within a sentence but don’t know the context of that specific sentence, there’ll be sentences you can piece together that further clarify those sentences.
So keep being exposed to words. Keep absorbing words, and eventually you will be able to piece those words together to form a coherent sentence. It’s like many pieces of a puzzle, once you’ve figured out how one piece fits with another and another piece fits with that, you’re on your way to making a bigass puzzle.
If on the other hand, if one has doubts not so much about their capability but about their motivation, I believe the best way to maintain motivation when you are lacking comprehension is to seek out media you enjoy as is without the need to understand it. Enjoy some pretty visuals. Watch dubs of movies you already know the dialogue to. Don’t concern yourself with learning if you don’t want to, put your feet up and enjoy the ride.
You might think at some point, ‘I really should learn more’, but that’s really not necessary to maintain exposure. As long as the language continues to surround you, you will solidify what you’ve learned even if you don’t actively learn any more.