No Pain, No Gain?

It seems our good friend over at FI3M had same crude awakening regarding the special challenges comprehension poses in the process of learning Chinese. Of course it is all because those mean Chinese speak extra fast and use extra difficult accents when talking to him just to throw him off guard. Well, I hate to say this, but I have told you all along! Building comprehension skills in Chinese is a long marathon, not a 3-months spurt. That doesn’t mean of course that one cannot or should not be proud of whatever one achieves in three months of hard work.

But on a more serious note, is it really helpful in language learning to push ourselves to a point where we come to hate the next lesson and basically hate learning the language alltogether? To a point where (quote) our ego is being destroyed, our brains are melting with splitting headaches? I don’t think so. We have to learn smart and accept that some things just take time. If we resist (hate) something I don’t see how we can make good progress in the long run.

PS.: I promise come April, come next mission I won’t bring up this particular issue anymore. But given my own long love affair with Chinese I just have this natural interest in that particular topic.

No pain, no gain = the Anglo-Saxon, masochistic method of self-discipline. :slight_smile:

I agree. Although I don’t really believe in Krashen’s Affective Filter in a literal sense, I do believe that certain factors reduce our efficiency. Do something to hurt your motivation, and it will have a negative effect. Here is a summary of his theory:

The Affective Filter hypothesis, embodies Krashen’s view that a number of ‘affective variables’ play a facilitative, but non-causal, role in second language acquisition. These variables include: motivation, self-confidence and anxiety. Krashen claims that learners with high motivation, self-confidence, a good self-image, and a low level of anxiety are better equipped for success in second language acquisition. Low motivation, low self-esteem, and debilitating anxiety can combine to ‘raise’ the affective filter and form a ‘mental block’ that prevents comprehensible input from being used for acquisition. In other words, when the filter is ‘up’ it impedes language acquisition. On the other hand, positive affect is necessary, but not sufficient on its own, for acquisition to take place.

I think that even if if you take your time, the language learning process has some sticking points you have to really force yourself through. Or you can just give it up. Taking some time away may be beneficial, but doesn’t always help. Sometimes you just have to suffer through some frustrating phases until you’ve conquered enough ground.

If we enjoy the process and if we are motivated, I do not feel that language learning is painful. In fact we should seek out learning activities that we enjoy, it keeps us going.

No pain, lots of time with the language, and lost of gain, eventually. But if it takes a long time, so what, if we enjoy the process.

BTW, Friedemann, re the so-called awesome difficulty of Chinese, we did not see Ben’s struggling efforts to learn Czech and Hungarian. They may not have looked so different from his Chinese mission after two months.

Well, his progress with Quechua was much, much worse than with Mandarin. Which is something which I would expect. A lack of materials would have been a killer there. The fact that it’s a rather complex language doesn’t help either. Still, it must have been fun. To me, that’s the number one element of Benny’s language adventures - he seems to enjoy them immensely. He’s got my support in that regard.

Fun? Did you read his post?

Indeed, fun. I would personally enjoy the process enormously. Being in the area, seeing the interesting things, having a go at learning that language. (I have numerous books on Quechua and once I’ve got some spare time (ha!) I’ll get cracking on it).

Whose post?

On Benny’s blog, entitled “No Pain, No Gain”