Most language learners hit a block at some point. The thing is that the more proficient you become, the harder it is to find vocabulary and grammar which could be applicable in daily usage. You might find yourself studying a bunch of synonyms and complicated rules that you may never employ in everyday life.
It creates an illusion of stagnation and leads to profound frustration. People don’t feel like they are improving, and it makes them believe that everything they do with the language is now a waste of time. However, this is a false sentiment. There are specific reasons for this impediment and ways to fix it.
Why Do I Feel This Way?
Maybe, you are already so advanced that it is hard for you to find some new and useful material. Maybe, you’ve attained a certain goal and are not sure how to move forward. Maybe, you suddenly realized that your current goal was too broad, or too narrow, or simply wrong. Before you start tackling the problem of language block, it is important to figure out why you have it in the first place.
Here you would need some meditation and rational self-assessment. Remember, in order for your studying to be successful, you need three things: concrete macro and micro goals, ways of measuring progress and techniques which would enable you to enjoy the language.
How to Set Goals?
The main strategy here is to understand why you decided to learn the language. If, for instance, your aim is to get a job, maybe, you should accumulate work-related vocabulary and practice answering interview questions in a foreign language. If, however, your goal is to have an easier time travelling, you should focus on mastering colloquialisms and conversational speech.
Having a smooth interview or a more fun trip to a foreign country could be your macro goals. However, then you would need to establish concrete steps to fulfill those grand plans. There is no need to follow a textbook when there is such a great variety of language material on the Internet. There are so many words and grammar rules, but you have to be picky when choosing what to study as it should relate to your long-term goals as close as possible.
How to Measure Progress?
The best way to gauge success is, of course, to talk to native speakers. As an alternative, it is also possible to find study buddies who could keep you in check and inspire to persevere despite the block.
If you are a lone wolf, it would help to write down your goals and achievements in a journal. The key here is to be specific and restrict time. Writing down your objectives will help you stay focused on them and noting your accomplishments will remind you that the so-called language block is just an illusion.
Moreover, having everything written makes your targets more legit and important in your eyes. It will help you stay on track and not get distracted by enjoyable, but useless exercises.
How Do I Make My Study Fun?
There are two rules here: not adhering to the same approach day after day and giving up when something is not working.
Trying miscellaneous learning methods can make your experience much more versatile and enjoyable. There is nothing more discouraging than turning language into routine. It has to be fun; otherwise, you won’t be able to do it for long.
Moreover, it is important not to get trapped by familiar techniques which, for some reason, stopped working. It is also painful to change your habits, but forcing this transition is necessary if you want to keep making progress.
There is no one correct way to master a language. People are all different; therefore, what may work for one may not be as effective for the other. You should always be on the lookout for innovative methods of language learning. Don’t fear the experiments. They will help you realize your personal needs and desires.
If, for instance, you are bored studying with some recognized textbook – quit it. It does not mean that you are a bad student, or that the authors of the textbook did a terrible job. It just means that it did not work for you personally. Some other people may disagree with you, but it should not deter you from trying something new.
Language learning is not a linear process. Of course, you should have particular goals and steps to achieve them, but there is no one path towards them. You should trust yourself first. Crafting a personalized study plan is, therefore, essential.
Language block actually shows your humility and strive for development. Smart people realize that the more they learn the more there is to learn. So, if you find yourself stuck, do not stop. Your determination and mindfulness will help you eventually break the barrier.
Just remember that this feeling is temporary. It means that you’ve already finished a certain swath of the journey, but there is always more to explore. In the beginning of language learning everybody follows a similar trajectory. However, once you accumulate the basic rules and vocabulary, it is your personality and interests which should guide your studies.
Do not ask others for a perfect method. If you hit a language block, you need to look within to find what works for you. There is nobody else who could show you the way.