Have you ever felt impatient with language learning?

It occurred to me recently that I am a complete novice who is trying to run, except as a novice learner I am more like a baby. I can babble and maybe roll over, but there are no marathons in my near future. Haha.

I looked at the initial lessons, and I wanted to gobble them up quickly to get past the introductory stuff and on to the “good stuff”. Because I have tried a lot of books, audio, and websites, I have done “Greetings” a hundred times. Yeah, yeah, I can say “Hello my name is …” Teach me something new!

Koreans have a saying. 빨리 빨리! It means QUICK QUICK! I want my language learning to quick, quick get past saying hello and teach me something I can actually use in conversation with my Korean pen pals.

Have you felt impatience with language learning? Have you wanted to rush ahead? Have you jumped in to the lake before you could swim?

I have no right to be corresponding with Koreans. I can’t even form sentences yet. I know nouns. Hundreds of nouns. I write English sentences and toss in nouns I know. I look up more nouns in the dictionary every time I sit down to write a letter to a pen pal, because I am so eager to express myself and learn.

What has been good about jumping in is I am motivated. Having real people to talk to made the difference in changing me from someone who was language curious to someone hungry enough to learn that I was able to overcome my shyness and fear of making mistakes and embarrassment at being unable to pronounce words. I had to overcome the fact that I sound like a child, not an intelligent adult, when I try to express myself with limited vocabulary.

I am someone who has never learned a language successfully. I don’t know how. High school Spanish was a dismal failure.

My 3 months of self study has given me hope that perhaps I can learn Korean. Perhaps with years of practice, I will be able to speak.

But I want to communicate now. I have these really nice people I have met, and we write or chat or call every week. They have confidence that I will learn Korean quickly. Some of them really push and challenge me.

For example, I, who can’t form even 2 word sentences, have been sent in all Korean with no English to assist me the following items:

  • the Korean national anthem
  • haiku poem
  • a 5 stanza poem
  • a 4 paragraph long email all in Korean
  • links to all Korean website with articles of interest
  • Korean musical performance videos

I break out in a sweat some times at these gifts. I am not ready to translate these items, but I work SO hard trying. It is part of what drives me to feel such impatience.

Life just keeps giving me pop quizzes in Korean. Like calling someone and being sent to voice mail … in Korean. Or dialing a wrong number and speaking live to a confused Korean. I’m not prepared. Sure, I can say the pencil is on the table, sit on the blue chair, where is the bathroom, but noting actually relevant or interesting.

So I am impatient. I am in a rush. My Korean friends are fast paced, busy, and impatient. They want to see progress from me. I want to show them I am earnestly studying. I want to prove to myself that I won’t end up like high school language lessons for 4 years and being unable to speak a word.

I would love to hear your stories. Have you been impatient? Are there different stages, and my impatience is just something that will pass? Has rushing ahead caused you problems? Is throwing yourself off the deep end into a language you want to learn a good thing?

I’m assuming you’re living in Korea if you are dialing wrong numbers and getting random Korean people.

If you’re living in Korea, I would suggest taking a strategic approach looking at things you actually want to say or do. In other words, if you want to go to the shop to buy a toothbrush, learn how to say things like “Excuse me, where are the toothbrushes”, and then ask the clerk when you get there.

Try to solve the problems that are directly in front of you, ie situations you are likely to encounter. Also, try to keep track of things you wanted to say, but weren’t able to. It helps a lot to have someone who can help you with the Korean versions of what you want to say and what you were unable to say.

But don’t forget your long-term focused studying. Keep reading and listening to content that you can understand reasonably well, and continue gradually raising your level.

There are definite stages in language learning. My experience might be similar to yours in that I moved to Japan and started learning Japanese. I focused on learning patterns, not just words, in the beginning. I imagine Korean is similar - there are many patterns that you can learn which will let you just plug different vocabulary in.

There are several useful pattern books published for Japanese, and possibly there are for Korean as well. If there are, I’d recommend getting a beginner book which focuses on patters. I know Steve her at LingQ has been creating or organizing lessons based around patterns - perhaps these lessons exist already for Korean?


I so understand how you feel but apparently it’s quite natural for language enthusiasts!

You do seem to have everything under control, even though you’re feeling impatient as we all are.

You are so lucky to have friends that believe in you and are rooting for you. That has to be the the most important motivating factor.

I am impatient about everything but it’s a real flaw in language learning. Now I have decided to conquer my demons.

Every time I feel impatient with my Japanese and Spanish I remind myself that discipline and diligence are key to getting results.

We have to learn how to walk in order to run, right?

1 Like

You should not be impatient with language learning. I have met a few people whose native language were distorted because they had been living in England for a long time. As nearly everything under the sun, language learning has its negative effects as well as its positive effects. In other words, if your goal is very high, you should be prepared to pay the so-called opportunity costs. However, if your goal is to simply speak a few set phrases, you do not have to worry about this.



I am an American living in New England. Where I live, there is less than 1% Korean population. So I haven’t met any Koreans here to talk to. However, I do make phone calls to Korea. Hence the occasional run in with voice mail in Korean.

Firstly- just slow down! I too have had this rush to try to learn as much as possible, as fast as possible, but it is not true learning. Have patience; language learning is a journey, not a sprint.

Should you try things that are out of your level? Heck yes! Generally that is where the interesting material is.

Try and find interesting material here at LingQ, and try to absorb as much from it as possible.

I have met people who purchase children’s books when they’re first learning a language because the grammar and vocabulary are not too complex, but it is still fun to read the little short stories and have success.

Good luck with your studies! And have patience. :slight_smile: