The six low moments of learning a language
Your pronunciation will sound hilarious; you will mistranslate and use the language inappropriately.
During an English conversation exchange, a Mexican student translated the Spanish term for “manual labour” directly into the immortal sentence, “hand jobs are getting cheaper”. Moments later an American classmate tried to complain that she was hot. Unfortunately, estoy caliente means “I’m horny”, or “I’m sexually stimulated.”
You might participate in conversations that go faster than your brain
You understand what’s being said, and you want to join in – but by the time you formulate a sentence that sounds natural, the conversation has moved on.
The best way to get around this is to ask questions to show that you are following the conversation.
Talking on the phone for the first time
Remember that 10% of communication is verbal so understanding someone on the phone becomes more difficult, especially if in another language. So, it’s not a sin to ask for clarification or to rephrase what you understood or did not understand.
Listening seems an impossible task
Sometimes we pretend to be listening to someone and end up saying “ok” in response to “Where are you staying?”, or “Ha, that’s so funny!” in response to “and then she passed away”.
The key is to make sure you actually listen instead of going into panic mode when you did not get that word. “What was that word? I know I’ve heard it somewhere, what was it WHAT WAS IT?!” You focus so much on the word and forget to follow the conversation.
You use an expression correctly and native speakers laugh
Believe me, you didn’t make a mistake. The fact that you use the language so naturally amazes the native speakers and hearing someone use their language so well is a pleasant surprise.
You find it hard to stay motivated.
There is so much to learn about another language – the grammar, the pronunciation and then the vocabulary: idiomatic expressions, slang, formal and informal words, etc. Covering requires persistence and awareness that it is a building process – brick by brick.
|What do you see - a pile of bricks or a house?|
Adapted from this motivating and frank blog post.