I registered here as I’ve heard a lot about the LingQ and I’m hoping this site can help me.
Firstly Happy New Year and I apologise for the long message, but at the moment I feel really stuck. I’ve been learning Czech for over 3 years now. Initially, I tried all sorts of books, courses, tutors and various websites. I concentrated a lot on the grammar and feel I now understand it well and further doing exercises isn’t really helping me. I have a large vocabularly, which I’ve learnt via using an SRS system and through Czech people I know (My wife is Czech, but we generally speak English to each other).
I’m now at the stage where I can understand almost everything said at natural speed, i.e. I can watch films, listen in on conversations, etc… I’ve had an enormous amount of input in this regard, everyday I watch my favourite TV series, I read blogs and I generally try to immerse myself in the language. However, I have huge problems with actually talking. I can happily do the basic tourist, everyday tasks without problems (i.e. Buying food, train tickets), but when I need to join in conversations and produce more complex sentences I fall flat on my face. I have all of the words in my head, I know what I want to say, but I simply can’t produce the sentence fast enough, and the pressure in my head makes me produce the sentence all wrong. I get annoyed with myself, I lose interest in the conversation, and well you see the picture. I would absolutely say that I’m a perfectionist, but I simply see no improvement in sight.
I’ve tried various teachers, and again, they will only speak Czech to me, but when I need to start saying more complex sentences back, the same thing happens (e.g. Talk about a film or book I’ve just read). I can happily write about it though (i.e. In a non-pressure situation). I think in the end, the tutors get fed up of me as I never seem to improve.
I read with interest various blogs, including Steve Kaufmann’s, and the fluent-in-3-months blog. The fi3m blog makes me feel worse, as I’ve been learning 3 years now, so shouldn’t I be fluent?. I hear all the time about people becoming fluent in these languages in short periods of time, and reading about their methods, most aren’t really doing much different than what I’m doing. As you can imagine, I actually do start saying to myself “Yep, I have no talent for languages”.
Lots of methods, such as Steve’s, indicates that getting lots of comprehensible input will eventually let you produce correct sentences. And believe me, I get lots of input. I watch TV and films everyday, I listen to the radio, music and I also try to read the news in Czech as opposed to English. I even read books on my Kindle, and can often get through them quite happily. I’d say that after work, I spend lots of time immersed in the language everyday. My wife will also at times only speak Czech to me, upon request. The only thing I don’t generally do is listen to the same content over and over again, as I simply lose interest and it just becomes background noise.
I’d be really interested in hearing from people who have ever been in a similar situation and have managed to get through it. 3 years is an awful long time in language learning, and at this stage I should at least be talking and feeling confident. Can’t LingQ help me in this regard, or is it time to just give up and accept that my brain doesn’t like other languages.