How To Stay Motivated Learning A Language

I figured mid-February is the perfect time to write this post. New Year has us all inspired and motivated to lose weight, stop eating ready meals and maybe even learn a language. So we order a shiny new grammar book, buy a language CD, invest in a big expensive yellow box  (I’m talking about you, Rosetta Stone) or even sign up to a free website. Either way we are ambitious, motivated and keen. Still feeling that way now? Then stop reading! Go carry on learning, you’re doing good kid! As for the rest of us? Let’s re-motivate ourselves and find out how to stay motivated learning a language…

Remember why you started.

You Can Do It
What made you start learning in the first place? Friendship? Love? Family? Self-improvement? Travel? Work? The reasons for learning a language are varied and often personal. Remember your reason. Use it to motivate you to keep going, keep learning and keep improving.

E-mail yourself.

Dory Email
Once you’ve reminded yourself why, use a site like FutureMe to send yourself an e-mail at some point in the future with these reasons on it. You never know, you could make your day on 12th June or the 27th August!

Record yourself speaking your language.

Talking To Myself
Right now. Do it. Go. No books, no rehearsal. You don’t have to put it on YouTube or show it to anybody. Keep it tucked away on a hard drive and make a note in your diary to check it in 6 months time.You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve improved. If you’re really brave, you could even attach it to that e-mail you’re going to send.

Be inspired by others.

The online language learning community is growing. So many people are uploading amazing and inspiring videos of themselves speaking multiply languages. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a polyglot (that’s someone who can speak many languages!) then Richard Simcott, Tim Doner and Alex Rawlings are a great place to start for some inspiration.

Make a vision board.

Make your space inspiring. Pick up a cork board from a charity shop or a pound shop and cover it with images, words, photos…anything that is linked to your goal and inspires you to get there. Now put that vision board somewhere you will see it everyday. Tah-dah! Instant inspiration. (Thanks go to my friends at Khameleon Kompany for this idea!)

Find a pen pal or Skype buddy.

Having a regular Skype buddy can be the kick up the bum some of us need to keep practising. If you can’t devote a set time to someone per week, how about a pen pal instead? Sites like italki and Penpalworld can get you started but there is an emerging number of sites offering this service. I’m hoping to blog about this in more detail soon so stay tuned!

Find something you enjoy in the language.

What do you do in your spare time? Film addict? Try this to get you watching films in your target language.

Maybe you love music? Check out this post to find music in the language you’re learning or follow me on 8tracks for multilingual playlists.

Remember only 5% of the world speak English as a first language.

World Language Map
Well, 5.52% but 5% makes for a prettier heading. That means there’s a lot of people out there that right now we can’t communicate with. Keep learning languages!

What inspires you to keep learning languages? Do you have any tips or hints you’d like to share? Please share them in the comments below!

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About Lindsay Williams

Lindsay Williams always had a curiosity for language. From spotting that most of the words on Italian road signs ended in vowels to actually wanting to order the baguettes on holiday in France, the warning signs were there. It wasn’t until Shakira released Laundry Service and she asked for a Spanish dictionary for her birthday to translate the Spanish on the album that things got what might be described as serious. Since then, Lindsay has gone on to study more languages than her fingers can count, including a degree in Modern Language Studies along the way. After founding Lindsay Does Languages to inspire independent language learners to go further when doing it solo, she now hopes it’s contagious.