May 1, 2014: I started learning Esperanto. I studied for six weeks, and got good enough to do a 3-minute video presentation about my hometown.
June 20, 2014: I started learning Lao. I studied for 11 weeks, with the goal of being able to have a five minute conversation by August 31st. That deadline came and went, and I still haven't had my five minute conversation yet. (Though I've had several 20 second conversations.)
What what wrong? Well, there are probably several things I could have done better. But I think the biggest reason is that not all languages are created equal.
So, most of us have been there. We get excited about learning Spanish or French or some other language. We buy a book, or heaven forbid, some overpriced software. We imagine ourselves sitting outside a cafe in Paris, reading the Le Monde newspaper with the Eiffel Tower behind our back and the cool Parisian breeze in our face.
Then a couple of days go by, or maybe even a couple of weeks, and our goal of learning a new language gets quietly forgotten.
How do you become a consistent language learner? Here's one idea.
Sometimes when you can't find the resource that you need online, you create your own. So I created printable Lao flash cards. And since they are useful to me, I'm sure they've got to be useful to at least one other person on the Internet.
Get them here.
Sometimes I wonder if I picked the wrong language to study.
My last serious attempt at learning a language was Esperanto, and I think I got pretty far in only six weeks. I've been learning Lao for almost six weeks, and I am nowhere close to where I was at this point in my Esperanto challenge. And I sometimes find myself a little discouraged about the slow pace.
So how do you push yourself past discouragement and speed up your language learning?
Here are 3 easy steps (and 1 not-so-easy step) in getting past language-learning discouragement and pushing yourself to the next level.
Sometimes the hardest part of learning a new language is memorizing. This is especially true if you are learning a language that's very different from any you already know.
Luckily there's Indiana Jones. Well, Indiana Jones and Mnemonics. And Indy is about to teach you some words and phrases in Lao.