Fustrated with the speed of my learning!

Hi There

Just wanted to throw this out and see what people think - I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

I am currently studying “French” I passed my DELF A2 earlier in the year and am now taking my B1 exam in a few weeks.

I go to a local University here in France 2.5 days a week - I really enjoy the course and the total immersion thing - however I am finding myself getting fustrated as I don’t feel that I am progressing as I should be. I only base this on comparing myself to others in the class - I know this is wrong - but I am human and I can’t help doing this.

I used all the resources of language learning - basically the internet, books, friends etc but I still feel like I am really only just being understood with my conversational french.

I have my exam soon and I almost didn’t enrol for it as I don’t feel confident - however I have decided to sit it anyways just for the experience - if I pass I think it’ll be a miracle!

I read the comments on the forums etc where people say the most important thing is to have fun - I don’t really experience learning “French” as fun! I love the language and can’t wait till I feel more confident in using it. But why am I struggling so much with this?

I’d love to hear from anyone that may have had similiar experiences of perhaps even suggestions on how I can progress a little faster - I know I have to keep working at it - but if the course is designed to prepare students for their exams why do I feel so lost still?

Anyways I’ll stop going on :slight_smile:

I look forward to hearing your views.

Be Well

My advice: in addition to your uni studies and any work you do on LingQ, listen to French podcasts (e.g. radio, if it’s not too hard) every day during your dead time (e.g. on the train, walking, doing the dishes).

I think you are struggling with enjoying the process simply because you have very, very high standards. Do you have a tendency towards perfectionism? I had to overcome a huge barrier of self-doubt at one time before becoming confident and accepting that I would make mistakes and that people sometimes would not understand me. Once I got over that hurdle, it became much easier and actually enjoyable. Good luck!


The best is to get into the language as much as you possibly can during the day. If you live in France than it is even easier.
You should listen to French whenever it’s possible, and since you want to develop your ability to speak, you should try to talk, even about simple stuff, everytime you have the opportunity to do so.

I understand what you mean about “fun”. I have the same problem with Hungarian that I am learning for 3 years now, and the complexity of the language makes it still very difficult for me to understand when people are speaking at normal speed, and it is frustrating and I have less fun than before learning the language.
The whole thing is just about relaxing and forgetting about it. Everytime you spend time with the language, you progress. Getting nervous about it and forcing your way through isn’t helping as you will create frustration and this will not improve your capacity to learn.

It is also important for you to discover your way of language learning. Courses are generally so that they “teach” you a certain way of learning that is not necessarily the best way for you.
If you read a bit on the forum, you will read many stories of people sucessful with languages’ learning and they sometimes reach their goals in a very different manner.
Some focus on input and do very few grammar and stuff like that, other do a lot of grammar and exercises and then look for input, some do both at the same time… The important is to find what works for you, and it is not because a teacher presents a way of learning that this one is gonna be the best for you. It might be, it might not be, you have to figure out.

Personally, I am mixed type :))
When I learn a new language, I always start with a text book (I loooooove the series “40 leçons pour parler…”) that presents me in a short way the general aspects of the language, teaches me simply all aspects of grammar without going into too much details, and offers a basic vocabulary of 1500 words. Once I did that, I go into systems like Linqg and focus on input. If I struggle with a certain aspect of grammar, i might do some exercises but to be fair, it’s quite rare and I generally do input only. I do not like to do input only right from the start. It’s just that it is that way that my mind works. I like to “understand”, so I enjoy learning some grammar. Massive input comes later for me.

It is not a good or a bad way of learning, it is just mine! This is what I discovered while learning languages in the past, that this was the way i felt the most comfortable with and this is all that matters. I would not “learn” the way a teacher tells me to do so, and I would not just do blindly what I read on Linqg. I just take some of the stuff around and incorporate it into my way of learning and this is fine.

My advice is to try to be attentive at the way you’re learning. To discover what works well for you and what you dislike, what it is not efficient. Soon you will find the best way for you to learn the language and it will give you more confidence. You might find that your method is totally that different than what you’re doing at school, or you might find it’s quite similar… You will see.

About frustration, the only advice I can give is to relax and forget about deadlines and all that stuff. As Lafontaine said, “Rien ne sert de courir ; il faut partir à point”. You might learn slower or faster than other people, it doesn’t matter. the only thing is that you’re progressing. Languages’ learning is not something you can put into schemes and deadlines, no one can say when you’ll reach a certian level of fluency.
You can be fast (for example, me with Italian and leanring it in 6 months) or you can be slow (for example, still me with Hungarian and unable to understand conversations after 3 years)… it doesn’t matter! The only thing is not to give up, never. if you give up, you’ll be sure you’re not gonna do it. If you keep on getting into the language, you’ll make it, soon or later. Just keep confidence in yourself :slight_smile:

Myself, I’m considering going to university within the next few years to do languages. I’m not going there to learn the languages, oh no. I’m going there to get the bits of paper so that my skills will be recognised. I will start learning the languages I do there, quite some time before I actually go to study them formally. Most of my learning will still happen outside of the classroom and I’ll only use the classes as practice (speaking session) and better developing skills like translation. I’d like to go into a career of some sort with languages so this is why I’ll do this. Just don’t put your whole faith into the university system. Enjoy what good you get out of it.

On progress - there comes a point where you don’t notice your progress. You’ve got to the point where you know the basic vocabulary plus a bit more, the most common grammatical structures are more or less understood and even usable in output (albeit with mistakes, which is natural). There’s something psychological about it all, even though you are progressing just as quickly or even more so. The best bet is to keep confident and just keep at it. Show French what you’re made of!

You can do it! :slight_smile:

I think you can certainly do a lot more on LingQ…! :slight_smile: You have hardly created any LingQs at all. One of the biggest things people tell us when they use LingQ properly is that doing the things we ask you to do, reading, creating many LingQs, listening repetitively greatly improves comprehension and therefore greatly improves their confidence. It sounds like you need to do be more active here since those are not normally the types of activities you get in a classroom.

Yeah, it’s about sheer mass. If you put in a little work here and there, it just doesn’t add up. It might be nice to say - oh, just study for a little each day, 10 minutes is ok - to make people feel good. The thing is that you need a minimum of 1h per day to make any decent progress. I suggest yet more than that.

I would like to thank those of you who replied to my message - I am grateful for your ideas and suggestions. I realise that when learning any new skill there is a process that we go through - and it is just the same in learning a language aswell. I think sometimes it would have been nice to stay back in that place where I thought I could speak fairly well - little did I realise just painful it must of been for people I spoke with :slight_smile: Know I realise more and more what I don’t know I guess at time is can all be overwhelming - as the exams are coming fairly fast I know there is also that added pressure. It’s great to be in a community like this where there are other going through the same processes and the comments I received enable me to ground myself and refocus - so that you again everyone for replying!

@peter - cheers for the reminder to have the radio on in the background :slight_smile:
@SanneT - me high standards as if! lol - think you cracked it in one there! - Looking forward to jumping that hurdle :slight_smile:
@Laurent - I think I much prefer the mix too - it is about finding what works for ourselves! I do enjoy the grammar normally after I have grasped the new concepts, about a week later! Thanks for the quote from “Lafontaine” also :slight_smile:
@Imyirtseshem - You are right, I can do this! :wink: Currently I am studying in the region of 7 hours a day - perhaps it’s burn out! Perhaps in a few months I will show em what I’m made of :slight_smile:
@mark - at first I took your comment perhaps the wrong way - I have only used the site what I consider to be actively since I decided to use it based on a recommendation of a friend - I am now off to learn more about the LingQs because I thought I had been using these, writing words down etc - but clearly not enough if you have noticed that! Thanks for kick up the butt :wink:

Lib, I am only now able to get to your question.

A few comments from my experience.

  1. Everyone learns at their own speed and learns different things at different speeds. Some pronounce well and can’t remember vocabulary. Some catch on to the pronouns but can’t fathom verbs. etc. There is no telling when things will click in for each of us. I would not worry about how others are doing. Just focus on enjoying your own slow but inevitable progress in the language.

  2. Remember the wise words of the lady who heads up the language department at San Diego University. Language learning success depends on three things. a) Attitude, b) Time with the language, and c) Attentiveness, or the ability to notice what is happening in the language.
    a) Make sure you have positive feelings about French and your ability to improve. No negativity!
    b) Spend a lot of time with the language, listening and reading. Listen to meaningful content, and in that sense the LingQ lessons are great, since they offer audio and text.
    c) Train yourself to notice, pronunciation, grammar, words and how they are used. I find that having thousands of LingQs helps me to notice. I tag my LingQs. I review them in different ways. I notice how they are connected. I notice how certain words are similar. I notice which words occur together. I notice them in flash cards, in lists, and when highlighted in yellow in the texts. Personally I believe that the more LingQs you create the faster you will learn. That is why I create so many LingQs as you can see from my profile.

One more thing. Efficiency matters. Efficiency leads to intensity. I believe that the LingQ system is efficient. I rarely write words down. I just consider it to be inefficient to create lists of words that I will not have time to look at. If I create LingQs these words will reappear highlighted in yellow in my future texts, and create a host of other functions that help me notice.