How do you keep your motivation to learn foreign languages?

any tips?

Unfortunately I do not have any tips, I just keep thinking to myself I have spent just over 7 months more like 7 and a half now learning Spanish and just keep thinking to myself “Keep Going” because the day will come where I will have a very high word count and I am able to really enjoy Spanish where at the moment I am still grinding away.

Everyday your count increases.

well my target is 100 known words a day which is slowly becoming more difficult haha

Ah, motivation - the thing which may well be the single most important factor in language learning.

Of course we are all are different; there are some guys (like Steve Kaufmann, Alexander Arguelles, Richard Simcott - and other names in the online polyglot community) who just seem to have a need to learn more and yet more languages. For these folks, there may be something unusual going on at a psychological level? It may be that a brain scan would show that performing activities associated with learning and using foreign languages is lighting up areas of their brain which are more usually associated with addictive behaviours? Or, at least, associated with high-reward behaviour (perhaps similar to the sexual urge - and fulfilment thereof - that blesses and curses some young men?)

For me (as oft repeated cycles of experience have proved over many years) there has to be some tangible and concrete goal in view if I am going to stay the course with a language. It’s all too easy to get swept up with an initial interest or excitement for this or that language - but it isn’t going to last! Sooner or later comes the dreaded question: why I am doing this? For me, there has to be a convincing answer.

The idea that a particular language (maybe Mandarin or Spanish) is useful in some vague way, because it has so many speakers…nope…that doesn’t cut it for me.

The idea that speaking this or that language is chic or impressive…nope…it just doesn’t cut it.

(That’s why I keep coming back to 2 languages which are, in general objective terms, highly obscure. Koine Greek and Hebrew.)

Wow. It happens something similar to me. How many languages do you speak?

Then you will reach a plateau, but it is totally normal. 100 words a day is more than enough to keep learning consistently.

Aside from English, I would only claim serious competence in German and Italian. But I’ve dabbled in numerous others - sometimes enough to get a little bit off the ground, so to speak, but no further.

Greek and Hebrew are the ones I am most motivated to learn (and/or improve.)

Three things, two of which require some facility with the language, so not sure how well it applies to beginners. (I started here with a fairly good foundation in my target language from school learning a few decades ago.)

First is the oft-invoked compelling content. I’m at the point where I can read some material fairly easily, and having an interesting book to read here keeps me coming back and turning the pages. A couple of very good books were instrumental in getting my word count to where it is. I still need to be careful about authors who flaunt their command of an immense vocabulary lest I get bogged down and lose motivation. (Petrov & Ilf!)

Second, I’ve developed an addiction to Youtube videos in my target language. It’s as if my mind craves listening to something, anything, in my target language. It doesn’t matter if it’s banal bloggers participating in the latest challenge fad, “documentaries” about yetis and aliens, or emigrants explaining how to buy a house in the US. Addictions, by definition, are very good at solving motivation problems.

Third is least important, though still a factor worth mentioning. I admit that the desire to boost my Lingq word count to the next threshold – to reach the next 000 count, e.g. – sometimes compels me to turn a few more pages.


More than 5k is an impressive word count. In fact, I’ve never seen a person on lingQ with such a high word count. Congratulations. Today I learned my first 1k. I guess I’m off to a good start in my 90 day Portuguese challenge.

Beware that Lingq word counts for different languages mean different things since Lingq counts each form of the word. Russian is a very highly inflected language – if you know the grammar you can form about 80 “words” from a single regular verb. And there are others around here with much higher Russian word counts than I have.

I looked at both Portuguese and at Finnish here, but did not continue. Mostly that was because I’m still focused on Russian. But it made me think you would indeed have to be very motivated to start a new language from scratch on your own. Good luck with your Portuguese!

I would suggested poking around Steve’s YouTube channel is the search bar. I believe he has several videos on this subject.

For me, there are several things that keep me motivated (in no particular order):

1a. how interesting the actually material I’m reading, listening to, etc. is. The genius of LingQ is that you don’t have to wait to really enjoy good content that is beyond your level. You can get the interesting stuff now, enjoy it, and actually learn from it too.

1b. The people you get to talk with.

  1. Think of the reasons/goals you want to learn (this overlaps with point #1).

  2. Seeing progress in my counts and it my ability to increasingly understand.

  3. watching Steve’s and often other language videos.

  4. chatting with people on this forum.

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My only motivational barrier is the fear of being too dumb to do it (shot glass of a brain, gallon of knowledge = too much spillage). However, as has been said, seeing others do it and knowing that they are just regular guys reassures me.

Get a great book and read it on lingq. It can be an original in your language or translated. Then the reading itself will become the motivation. Also, your word count will grow really fast. If you haven’t read your first book, I’d recommend self help. It’s generally much easier than literature and is a great way to get your feet wet.

To me it’s simple:

Either I find interesting content that keeps me going.


I find interesting people to have contact with.

If none of the above applies, I will get demotivated and stop eventually.

(That does not mean there is no going back though!)

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Could you give Danish a go?

The way I see it, there is no more than a cigarette paper of difference between written Danish and Norwegian (BokmĂĄl).

As for pronunciation…hmm…that soft d…

(BTW She is one fine piece of woman, but her teaching is fundamentally wrong. It should all be done in Danish! All these people are learning from listening to her is ENGLISH!)

You’are right. The pronunciation isn’t easy - a nightmare.

Bwt, I was listening to a podcast the other day and heard a new word, for me: DAYMARE.

I love English language!

“any tips?”

Have a look at this one: