For many people, one of the hardest things about learning a new language is keeping with it. You get excited about learning a new language. You buy yourself The Complete Idiots Guide to Learning Spanish. You read for a couple days, and then you quit.
Here's some of the best advice I've ever heard about being a consistent language learner: You should do something every day that will make sure you engage in learning a language tomorrow.
I wish I could take credit for that one piece of advice. (I also wish I remembered who said it in the first place, so I could give them credit.)
So naturally, there are some good things you can do today that will make it more likely that you study tomorrow, and there are some bad things you want to avoid that will keep you from learning a language tomorrow.
In today's post, I'm going to focus on one of those bad things: language learning burnout.
Ah, the plateau. It's that spot in your language learning adventure where you feel you've made some progress, and then you stop progressing. You feel stuck. This is the point where lots of people feel like they want to give up.
Learning that new language was fun for a while, but now you feel like your at the same level you were a few weeks ago, despite the fact you've put in lots of effort.
Been there. Done that. (I think most of us have.) Here's a few things I've learned about how to overcome those learning plateaus and how to reach new heights.
The other day my wife laughed at me. I had my phone in my pocket as I was getting ready for work in the morning. Blasting from my phone was a song from Genii, a pop music group from Laos. My wife that it was the funniest thing.
"Why are you laughing?" I asked her.
I hate New Years resolutions. Let's face it. I've already blown my resolution to write a blog post at least once a week. Here it is, February, and I'm finally getting around to my first post of the year.
I am a big fan, however, of evaluating where I'm currently at in my life and making a few reasonable goals to get to the next step.
Let me emphasize the words few and reasonable.
It's my opinion that working on too many goals prevents you from accomplishing anything well.
Lao is the toughest language I've ever tried to tackle. It has it's own unique alphabet. There are no spaces in between words. The number of cognates with English are pretty low. But the hardest thing for me has been learning the Lao tone rules.
I tried and tried to learn the tone rules, but it was like I had reached a brick wall in my Lao studies. I did eventually break through that wall. Here's how I did it.