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What to do if you feel that your progress is much slower than it should be

When you first learn a language, it can be very motivating to make fast and easy progress through the beginner stages. You will feel yourself slowing down as you approach the intermediate stages. Progress is often times imperceptible, and it can culminate in a frustration at a seemingly low rate of progress. This is not you losing touch.

The reality is beginning a language is full of concrete steps that enable you to easily make connections and do things you couldn’t do before. Intermediate stages involve developing your skills, which means far fewer tangible achievements, just steady and gradual improvement. In addition, the early stages involve doubling the number of words you know extremely often. Having enough vocabulary for simple natural conversation means you will need over 1000 words, perhaps even 2000. 

At this point, words become less common and it is much harder to double the number of words that you know, meaning doubling the number of words you can identify and comprehend takes far longer than before. The key is simply to trust the process. Your brain will absorb the language. Practice will make you better. It is gradual, so you will not always notice tangible changes. Learners commonly experience a sliding backwards in their abilities as the brain reorders itself. Patience and persistence are two of the key skills of an independent language learner.

Learn a new Language with LinguaLift

Learning a language to fluency is a slow process, and in most cases new learners vastly underestimate the time it will take. There’s nothing much you can do but understand that sometimes progress will not be fast. If you are feeling demotivated, you can find ways to measure your progress. Writing down the words you want to learn as you see them, then learning them, allows you to look back on the list and see how many you now know where previously you did not.

Learn to be kind to yourself

Have you actually been putting in the effort to learn and get better? Be honest with yourself. Have you been studying for under a year? Would a person who was just starting out on their journey be happy with the progress you have made? What would a friend of yours say about your progress? And not the kind of friend who always praises people, the kind who will tell you straight up if you have been slacking off and not applying yourself.

In most cases, that person would be impressed. If you are doing the work, then you have no motive to be overly critical of yourself. What you can do instead is devote the time and energy you are currently using to be overly critical of your progress and devote that to finding new ways of improving your learning efficiency. If you know you are doing the work, then the only thing that is left to improve is the work you are doing or how you are doing it.

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