Top 8 Pains of Learning a New Language: how to Learn Fast [with video]

What’s the best way to learn a foreign language? We all study languages at school but usually don’t use the best method to study them.

2019/04/10

Stefano Lodola

By Stefano Lodola

Does it have to be so hard to learn a language?

It takes a whole life to master our mother tongue – we always have the chance to learn new things and words, correct our mistakes, and improve our speech. With a foreign language, things are even harder and it’s all right. However, there are other factors involved as well:

  • It could be something you are doing: you lack motivation or time, you fail in making it a priority, you can’t make enough time or you don’t try hard enough to find the right materials.
  • Your timing might not be the best: the older you get, the harder it is to master a foreign language. Kids have a sponge-like mind and, until puberty, their procedural memory is considerably more active – tasks related to unconscious skills, like dancing, riding a bike or understanding subtle language rules, are much easier for them. Adults, on the other hand, are less good at implicit learning, so it’s harder for them.
  • You haven’t set your standards right: mastering a second language is complex. What are you interested in: speaking, reading, listening or writing? It’s hard to achieve all of them at once. And how about the proficiency levels?
  • You might have picked the most difficult language: you might not know it yet, but different languages belong to different difficulty categories, depending on how much learning time and effort they require.

Here’s a list of troubles that language learners commonly experience during their studies:

  • They don’t know how to study a language
  • They’re embarrassed because they can’t speak
  • They’re frustrated because they’re wasting time and money
  • They’re nervous because they make mistakes
  • They fear that it’s too late to start
  • They regret that they don’t have time
  • They feel discouraged because they can’t travel / live in _____
  • They fear that they’ll forget it after they quit studying

#1 pain of learning a new language: I don’t know how to study a language!

What’s the best way to learn a foreign language?

We all study languages at school but usually don’t use the best method to study them.
In fact, many don’t know how to study languages effectively.

Actually, the point is not how to study it but how to learn it.
That’s the same difference between treating a disease and curing it.

You want to cure it.
You want to learn that language.

#2 pain of learning a new language: I’m embarrassed because I can’t speak!

Many are embarrassed because they can speak they can understand something but they cannot speak.

Well, that’s common and it’s usually not their fault but due to their study method.

#3 pain of learning a new language: I’m frustrated because I’m wasting time and money!

It takes time and money to learn a language, as with any other skill.
But it shouldn’t take too much time or too much money.

#4 pain of learning a new language: I’m nervous because I make mistakes!

We are all nervous because we make mistakes all the time.
Well, put up with it. That’s the way we learn.

So take mistakes as a sign that you are learning.
It’s totally normal to make mistakes and if you set realistic expectations you will not be frustrated.

#5 pain of learning a new language: I fear that it’s too late to start!

I just told you that it might be too late to sound like a native.

Well on the other side it’s never too late to start and learn a language.
It might take a bit longer if you’re older but you can certainly make it.

You can reach a relatively high level in a relatively short time and communicate correctly and effectively.
So it’s never too late to start.

#6 pain of learning a new language: I regret that I don’t have time!

If you have a busy life, you might regret that you don’t have enough time.

However, if you follow a study plan you know where you’re supposed to do and how well you’re doing and you will not be frustrated.

#7 pain of learning a new language: I feel discouraged because I can’t travel / live in _____!

Many regret that I cannot live or travel to the countries where they speak the language they’re learning.

Well, it certainly helps to be on the spot and communicate with locals, but that’s not necessarily.

#8 pain of learning a new language: I fear that I’ll forget it after I quit studying!

If you don’t speak a language for a while your level will probably drop, but you never completely forget.

What’s your pain in learning a new language?

Did you find your pain in this list?

Naturally, you cannot – or should not – just say that you weren’t born for this and give up. It could be harder for you, but not impossible. And there are definitely some things you can try to smooth your way a little bit. Here is what you need to do:

Instead of learning chaotically, come up with a strategy: you definitely don’t know all your mother tongue’s words, so you won’t have to learn all the words of the new language. You just need to identify the most common ones and focus on them. For instance, the English language has about 300 words that we use in about 65% of everything we write. Learning them will take you far.

Try to put your practice in writing on a daily basis: there is no secret that handwriting is one of the most effective ways to memorize.

Don’t take the fun out of your learning process: if you just read grammar all day long and listen to plain, school-like conversations, there’s no wonder you are getting bored. Have you thought about watching a movie in that language, without the subtitle? Or listening to music in that foreign language?

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Stefano Lodola lecturing about learning languages

Do you want a complete guide on how to learn a foreign language?

The tips in this article are taken from my on-demand course on Udemy “Fluent. Simple. My proven quick-start guide to learn any foreign language”. There I share what I actually do to learn foreign languages, in the form of a presentation based on contents that I usually show in polyglot clubs.

After this quick-start guide, you’ll know exactly what to do from day one. I put popular tools and personal tips together into a complete language workout for your brain. These tools can be used to learn a language in the spare time that you have each day and can be applied without going abroad.

This is not a generic guide: I only recommend methods and materials that I actually use myself and find useful. This treasure of life experience will spare you years of ineffective studies.

The course includes:

  • My experience as a language learner
  • Links to select learning resources
  • Study methods and tips
  • Advice to draft your study plan

To make sure that you’ll actually put that into practice, the course comes with the option to book a 30-minute consultation on Skype (not included in the course enrollment fee). We’ll discuss your study plan and I’ll answer any questions that you may have.

Click here to read the course program and watch the free preview.

Take it today and become a language learning machine!

Stefano Lodola

Meet your language coach

As a language learner, I was raised speaking only Italian, but now I speak nine foreign languages.

As a teacher, I’ve taught Italian to adults in language schools and universities.

I’ve lectured in polyglot clubs and coached students on their way to fluency.

I’m eager to share my secrets with you.

Stefano Lodola

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Victoria Kelly
USA
Stefano's Language coaching was an excellent use of my time, Stefano helped me to understand what programs and resources he has found most useful in acquiring new languages. I feel more focused and confident and am working on my self-study program now. Thank you, Stefano!
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UK
My lesson with Stefano was engaging and gave me a better idea of how i should approach my language studies in the future. I thank him greatly and I hope to implement these new methods into my everyday life. He is very knowledgeable and will explain any questions one may have in great detail. Definitely recommended to those who are interested in starting a new language or improving their method of study.
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