The Three Worst Foreign Language Learning Mistakes

Language Learning Mistakes

There are lots of mistakes that new and experienced language learners make but there are three that stand out.  Those who are consistently successful and become strong speakers of whatever language they learn have learned to overcome these three bad habits.


There are too many self conscious and overly concerned language learners who don’t want to try speaking until they are confident that they will say it perfectly.  THIS IS RIDICULOUS!  Learning a foreign language is like being an infant again.  When you were an infant you didn’t say anything correctly but everyone got the idea of what you were saying and didn’t make fun of you.  In fact they cheered and were excited at the simple fact that you were trying.

You have to practice and make mistakes otherwise you will never gain experience.  Experience is the key to being a successful language speaker.  Experience takes two ingredients.  Repetition and Time.  I think we are all capable of doing those things and thus we are all capable of becoming successful language learners.  So get out there and just say it.  Sure you might sound funny, who cares, but each time it will get better.


In the world of instant gratification in which we have come to forget the basic virtues of patience and hard work.  Also, due to some language products and their commercialization there is the common misunderstanding that language learning is easy or instant.  Of course there are those rare people who naturally take to languages like fish in water but those people exist in any activity (Sports, Academics, Business).  Most likely you and I are not one of them.  So don’t get discouraged and give up when you are not a native level Spanish speaker in 2 months.  Depending on our aptitude, previous experience, EFFORTS, opportunities to travel or be immersed, and the instruction we receive it can take years or a life time to become truly fluent.

Just because becoming truly fluent could take years or a lifetime doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the fruits of learning a foreign language now.  You can communicate conversational without being native, make new friends, travel, and enjoy the arts and literature from that language.  So don’t be impatient and enjoy the process of learning a new language not just the goal.


I’ve mentioned this in previous posts but hard work is the backbone of learning a new foreign language.  If you are learning Spanish and you depend solely on your teachers instruction to advance your skills you will not get you very far.  Teachers are guides but you have to do the walking.  So make sure you are willing to put in the TIME and EFFORT needed to truly learn a foreign language.

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