Your experience of learning a foreign language

There is one problem i’m strugging with!
I’m at the level where you start to feel a little bit confident in the target language, but are still far from fluent. And I have no idea what I’m supposed to do next.

I’ve immersed myself in my target language environment as much as I could (consuming information, reading a lot, exclusively in target languege), and I think I’m gradually increasing my knowledge. However, it’s not enough, and I feel that I’m stuck

What did you do to overcome this intermediate plateau?


If you feel stuck at your current level, increase your output. “Consuming information, reading a lot, exclusively in target language” is great. It’s all input. Keep it up!

Increase your output in the target language. Talking and writing are both output. If there are ways to get feedback on your output, do that, too, and use the feedback immediately, intentionally and repeatedly.

Also accept that the speed and depth of learning will vary throughout your process.

I hope this helps, MaksimTimchenko.


Lots of listening and speaking should suffice


Nothing magical. You just have to keep at it. Keep reading. Keep listening. Try to find content with actual native speakers. Not sure what language you’re studying but if you are studying one of the more popular languages you can check out the “Easy ” channels… Easy German, Easy Spanish, Easy English, etc. In these (if you are familiar), they go out on the street and ask people questions. So while the question is often relatively easy, the answers are really authentic speech. Not produced, so you have all the oddities of how folks typically speak. You can import these with the LingQ extension and “whisper” will create a transcript that you can read and LingQ later.

If you aren’t doing some speaking yet, you can do some of that. Either with tutor or yourself. Try to figure out how you would say everyday things in your typical day. If you don’t know then look it up on DeepL or chat gpt. If there are certain areas in life you want some extra content on you can ask Chat GPT to create dialogues or stories in your target language about those subjects. You can write a journal everyday on what happened to you that day or week. Look up things if you don’t know. Again, these are going to be YOUR normal everyday happenings so you are going to have your own personal vocabulary. You do this everyday in your native language. You have things that you typically say everyday.

Keep exposing yourself to a variety of content. Nonfiction/news will be the most helpful, but fiction can be more fun for people.


Welcome to intermediate no-man’s land. I’ve been in it for a while, so not much advice to give, other than don’t give up, as much as you might feel you want to. I started to get frustrated and demotivated with it all, so I backed off on my studies for a few months, just keeping things to a minimum. Then eventually found some new goals and areas of focus, and that got me rejuvenated. And I even feel like those few months of rest actually helped my proficiency. I think my brain may have just needed some down time to absorb what I’d learned up to this point, and process it all subconsciously.


That last thing you mentioned is so true. I think Kaufman mentions it in his videos and I’ve noticed that myself in French several times.

To address your “problem” I’d suggest two different alternatives. The first could just be to restructure how you look at the language until you find some other ways to focus on your flaws. The way I phrase it is that I want as much vocabulary and listening comprehension as possible to just say “I know all words” or I set an arbitrary goal like my current 100k known words of Russian as a goal until I figure out another solution.

Or I’d just stop learning the language as my main activity and try to just have fun in it. Read what you normally would. Even just translations of what you want to read. Watch tv shows and podcasts about your interests and let the language settle whilst you’ve “left it”


You need to practice a lot of transcribing which will also build on other modalities! More importantly, as you learn new words you need to ensure your listening matches your reading level. In that I mean, you should be able to recognize and visualize new words you hear. I would argue that regardless, a goal should be to have your listening and reading levels on par.


I completely understand where you’re coming from! Hitting that intermediate plateau can feel like running into an invisible wall, and it’s a challenge I’ve faced in my own language-learning journey. When I reached that point, where progress seemed to slow despite my efforts, I had to rethink my strategy and introduce some new methods to reinvigorate my learning and push through to advanced proficiency. Here’s what worked for me:

Focused Practice on Weak Areas: I took some time to honestly assess my skills and identify specific areas where I was weak. For me, it was conversational fluency and listening comprehension. Once I knew my weak spots, I sought out resources and exercises targeted at improving those specific areas.

Language Exchange Partners: Finding a language exchange partner was a game-changer. Speaking with native speakers not only improved my fluency but also helped me understand the nuances and idiomatic expressions of the language. It was intimidating at first, but the real-world practice was invaluable.

Diving into Content Creation: I started to write essays, journal entries, and even social media posts in my target language. I also tried my hand at speaking by recording myself, which helped me gain confidence in my pronunciation and intonation. Sharing these with native speakers for feedback was incredibly helpful.

Advanced Learning Materials: I moved beyond general language learning resources and started consuming more advanced materials. This included reading books and articles on topics I was interested in, listening to podcasts, and watching movies without subtitles. It was tough at first, but it forced me to adapt and learn from context.

Setting Specific Goals: Instead of a vague goal like “become fluent,” I set specific, achievable goals. This included things like being able to understand a news broadcast, hold a 15-minute conversation on a specific topic, or read a novel. These smaller goals helped me measure my progress and kept me motivated.

Regular Reflection and Adaptation: Every few weeks, I reflected on my progress and the effectiveness of my methods. If something wasn’t working, I wasn’t afraid to change it. This adaptability helped me find the most effective strategies for my learning style.

Pushing through the intermediate plateau required a combination of focused practice, real-world application, and a willingness to step outside my comfort zone. It was challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. Remember, every learner’s journey is unique, so it’s important to find what works best for you. Keep experimenting, and don’t lose hope. The breakthrough you’re looking for could be just around the corner!


I go through spells where it’s hard to sense my progress. Then I notice a breakthrough in some area and cheer up. That seems to be the way of it.

I got the the impression from many of the enthusiastic langauge learning YouTubes that I ought to be farther along by now. I stopped comparing myself to those notions. I’ve settled in for a longer haul. I just keep at it, try different things to improve, and do my best to enjoy the process.

There’s plenty of good advice above. I’d add my vote for ChatGPT. You can have text conversations with it at any level, on any subject, day or night, no need to schedule, and it’s free. You can also consult it for help on odd grammar, words or expressions.


If using LingQ has taught me one thing, it was through the statistics tracking that the intermediate plateau is not real, only perceived. The problem is the gap between where we are and where we want to be is much wider once you break out of the beginning stages. You can see this in vocabulary requirements on the HSK scale if you study Chinese for example. It just takes more time to acquire all that!

You dont notice your children growing day-by-day. Its only when you look at 2 photos juxtaposed that you notice the difference.

I recall one expert researcher in the field say that one hour of reading per day will get you from lower intermediate to high advanced in 3 years, or 3 hours of reading per day in 1 year.


I agree, it’s not real. There is no quick fix, you just have to keep working at it, day after day. That’s why it’s important to read things that interest you. Forget about making progress and enjoy what you are reading/listening to. Lots of variety helps. And a range of difficulty. Sometimes I feel like a challenge, and sometimes I just want a good read. I just do what’s fun and interesting, and it adds up. The more the better.