Greetings from the UK, New to this business of language learning

Hi all, I have an Italian background with my Grandparents being Italian but both my parents where born in South Africa, So I am have made the decision to improve my Italian before tackling another language. When I can get to fluency in Italian it will be language number 3 for me, Afrikaans, English & Italian.
I will probably tackle Russian after that I think, depends on how I get on with Italian. I can’t really say how I learnt English as my second language so am still testing the waters on language learning. Any tips?

Anyway pleased to be here!
John N


Firstly, welcome, and good luck!

My tips:

  1. If you’re planning to reach a solid level of fluency (it means different things for different people. I see it as total comfort in almost any situation) my advice would be to forget about your ‘next language’, (after the one you’re currently working on/plan to work on), will be.

You can look all over the place if your goal is no higher than B1-2, but a really solid level of fluency is a different ball game. It takes multiple thousands of hours to achieve and requires total commitment, ideally, without constantly eying up other languages.

  1. It’s not a race, it takes as long as it takes. I’m convinced that we all learn languages at very similar rates (assuming we’re all getting the right input and the same amount of it). There are no shortcuts.

  2. Find things you enjoy so much that it’s something you choose to do regardless of it being a learning activity. Let the learning be a by-product of what you’re doing.

For me, during the early intermediate stage, it was all the best English language TV shows, which I’d never gotten around to watch, dubbed in the TL. Movies too.

I’m fortunate that my target language has a culture of dubbing shows/movies, and it just so happens to have some of, if not the best voice actors on the planet. Watching animated movies is particularly good since there’s no lip sync issues. I can’t tell you what a joy it was to watch Coco and Encanto in Spanish.

  1. Try not to get too discouraged (you will because we all do) when you read/hear something you can barely understand a word of. All it means is that you haven’t had as much level-appropriate input as someone who can understand it. That’s the reason, but it could also just be a genre that you’ve barely exposed yourself to, which is basically the same thing.

  2. Put in the required time and attention but relax about the results. The results come if you put in the time and attention. Learning a language is unavoidable if you do that.