Hitting a brick wall in your studies

I am noticing that with my studies, especially Russian, that words are not sticking as much anymore. Now that I am out of school for the summer and am not in Russian classes for the time being, I am completely self-studying. My question is how do I get out of this groove and start getting back to gaining more words with the language?

Thanks all!

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Well, you are getting on a bit! You must be all of 20 already, if not less? :))

Variety is the spice of life and - according to the latest research, forgetting is good, it helps you learn better! Steve has posted a video recently about the benefits of forgetting, referring to Prof. Bjork’s series of videos on the workings of the brain.

Seriously, though, we all get stale at times and then it is best to change your approach. Your Russian will not suffer from letting it stew a bit. How can you inject life into the language again? Have you listened to new Russian music or whatever you like on youtube? All the things that you normally do, but with a touch of lightness and fun! Enjoy it, is all I can recommend.

You might have reached a plateau.

Check this article out and see if you think it’s your same problem.


Hope this helps and enjoy your holidays!

@SanneT- recently I have been listening to stuff about politics, since that is what I am interested in, and what I want to translate for when I am older. I think that mostly I am hitting this plateau because I am reading mostly those articles and speeches; and the words are very unique for those specific topics.

@Elfgal- thanks for the link

How wise Sanne is! She’s probably right!

Summer does that to you.

Now I have to get used to the idea that forgetting is good. Great opportunity to beat ourselves up less!

It’s also possible that you haven’t actually hit a brick wall. It’s easy to feel like you aren’t making progress, the farther away from absolute beginner you get. It’s like if you start swimming into the ocean, as long as you can see how far away from the shore you are, you can track your progress. But then suddenly there is no shore in sight and it’s very difficult to gauge whether you’re making any progress or not. Try looking at some content that was a little challenging a month or more ago and you may be surprised at how much more you understand.


I have no idea of whether words are sticking or not. I just enjoy learning about things using my new language. I do notice that there are fewer and fewer blue words and that is encouraging. I also notice that I understand more and more. But as to words sticking, that is an unconscious process. As long are you are reading and listening to interesting things, enjoying the language, and occasionally speaking when you have the chance, without worrying about how you do, how you can you get discouraged?

@Steve- I was hoping you’d chime in. When you keep reading, do you click on yellow words if you see them again to see the definition? Or do you just know what it means by context?

I click on the yellow words often, either because I have forgotten the meaning, or because I am not sure. I don’t know how many times I click on each yellow word, but it is often. The yellow words are the key. Every so often I change the colour to a lighter shade of yellow. Gradually the pages are whiter and whiter. But mostly I am motivated to understand what I am reading.

I’m kind of the same, I find that I learn but not much sticks after a short while. I like to think that I learn but sometimes my mind goes completely blank and I could never imagine myself actually speaking for 5 minutes in Spanish.