Rough experiences with language learning

Hello all, I was wondering if there is any user on this forum who speaks at least a few languages now that had many many problems and issues with language learning at the beginning and it took them two years to finally start learning their first foreign language.

What I mean by this is experiences where for instance in Year 1 that person tries to start learning languages and then has many unsuccessful attempts because of several interest conflicts and self doubts but then two or so years later he or she finally has been able to deal with and resolve all those obstacles and starts learning their first foreign language with success.

I am wondering because I have a friend who is going through a huge problem in regards to this and if any of you can input your personal experiences I would appreciate it.


Hi, I think I can relate to this. It probably took me about two years to get anywhere in French. In the beginning I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, and if you asked me what a polyglot was I would have probably guessed that it was a geometric shape. I started with programs I now think are useless, I saw language learning as a chore, and I was convinced it had to be difficult. I had no confidence- it’s difficult to succeed when you’re convinced you’re going to fail. I was fairly certain I would never learn French, and I’m still surprised I stuck with it just long enough to finally have some success.

Looking back, the biggest obstacle for me was a lack of exciting materials. Rather than finding fault with the methods I was using, and seeking out different books and programs, I stuck with the first language learning programs I came across, and blamed myself for not learning anything from them. I needed interesting content, but I was stuck trying to fight my way through programs that weren’t motivating me. After much wandering around in the dark I eventually stumbled upon Michel Thomas, an old Assimil book, and later I discovered LingQ. (and about three months after discovering LingQ I actually signed up for it) That’s what worked for me, but for other people it may be something different. Unfortunately you have to go through lots of garbage to find what works for you.

If I had advice for your friend it would be to keep trying new things, and keep trying them often. If the way they’re going about language learning is not getting them anywhere, it’s essential to try something else, and continue to do so.The hardest part of language learning for me was learning how to learn. I started Spanish about six months ago, and because of all the trial and error of learning French I was able to begin my Spanish studies without pain, with complete confidence, using from day one the same methods that made French finally click for me.

I feel for your friend, it’s not easy. Thankfully, you only have to learn how to learn your first second language once. :slight_smile:

The first language is the most difficult. We have not done it before, don’t believe we can do it, our brains are less flexible, we don’t have our learning routines and many more problems. Just stay the course.