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4 Obstacles to Language Learning

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A child can learn up to four languages at the same time during the first five years of their life. While this learning power fizzles out as they grow older and their attention grows more divided, it’s a sign that we can learn multiple languages.

Even so, the following obstacles might be stopping language learners from picking up a language.

1.    You Haven’t Had Your Eureka Moment

There are many teaching approaches that stimulate language learning, but not all of them suit everybody. For example, if you aren’t learning anything from visual cues or group activities, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the knack for it.

The ideal solution would be to stimulate the same environment that made you learn your native language, but that’s a secret that linguists are still trying to uncover. In the meantime, you could always take a different approach. Try other books for learning grammar and vocabulary or listen to an audiobook for language learners—who knows, you might have a knack for listening rather than reading.

2.    The Word Order’s Different

Often, we have trouble learning a language because we’re mentally placing the verbs where the pronouns should be, and applying rules of our native language to the target language. Many languages share the same word order, but not all of them.

For example, you can’t always apply the rules of English to Italian. You’ve got to change perspectives by learning the basics of your target language before memorizing vocabulary and grammar. Establish a mental layout, so you can slot words in the right place.

A Set of Hands Holding a Pen Beside Several Dialogue Box Cut Outs Spread Over A Notebook

3.    You Haven’t Worked Your Way Up

When you end up picking up a really difficult language to learn before learning an easier one that has the same word structure, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Even if you manage to pick up a few things, you’re bound to run into a proverbial brick wall sooner or later.

Therefore, those who learn English as a foreign language—especially, native speakers of Semitic languages—may want to pick up Dutch before heading onto the highly confusing non-phonetic language that’s English.

4.    You Don’t Have the Impetus to Learn Language

Instead of declaring you don’t have it in you to learn a particular language, you might want to look into the reasons you want to learn it in the first place. You may’ve unconsciously shelved your motivation somewhere at the back of your mind, and the lack of it could be causing you to be less committed.

A motivation could be any of the following:

  • You want to speak the language of a country you’ve migrated to.
  • Your country’s official language and your mother tongue are different, and you can’t survive without the former.
  • You’re preparing for a standardized test like, IELTS, TOEFL, and so on.
  • You want to understand foreign content without subtitles better.

Once you’ve narrowed down or reclaimed your main reason, you’ve got to keep it at the forefront of your mind until you’re well into the grammar rules and have a decent amount of vocabulary in your mental lexicon.

Stuck on Italian? Learn by Reading and Listening

If you’re a native speaker of German, English, or both, struggling with Italian, I may have just the thing to get you out of your rut. Check out my collection of Italian audiobooks online and explore the best grammar books for beginners on my website.

The learning platform has many things, including comprehension for beginners and Italian short stories for intermediate learners.

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