I've been writing for a while now about strategies to improve your language learning experience if you apply them in your language routine. But some people find it easier to go forward in their journey while others struggle.
I put together some attributes of the best language learners based on my own experience and after interviewing some of my polyglots friends who have managed time and time again to become fluent in many languages.
1- First, they have real expectations of what learning a language entails.
The average language learner always starts with lots of enthusiasm but when realising the multiple efforts that they have to put in, they soon abandon their dreams.
On the contrary, the best language learners are aware that learning a language takes time, patience, and perseverance.
2- They are highly motivated
The best language learners always set short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goals keep them on track and propel them towards the ultimate purpose which is to communicate in that language.
3- They learn to carry on
We're all eager when starting to learn a new language and we feel pump up by the exponential growth of our vocabulary pool, expressions and grammar structures. After a while our learning seems to slow down and we hit a plateau. Most of us throw the towel at this point. But the best language learners do not give up. They find a way to spice up their their study and make it interesting and thrilling again.
4- They persevere
They keep practising in their target language even during the periods that they don't feel like it. They meet native speakers or language partners, and engage in conversations. They know it's important to keep going.
5- They are curious
They observe how language is structured. They analyse how the language is spoken and written. They try to make their own sentences based on what they learned.
6- They are not afraid of mistakes
The best language learners know when learning a new language, that mistakes are unavoidable. They are prepared to laugh at their own errors ans see them as a fast way to acquire knowledge. They analyse and study them to prevent making the same ones in the future.
7- They practice their listening skills
The best language learners know that it takes time to understand perfectly native speakers' talk. They spend time immersing themselves in the practice of real life conversations.
8- They know where their priority stands
The best language learners know which of the four language skills( speaking, writing, listening, reading) they want to master according to how they want to use the language they are learning. They focus more in what is relevant to them and they choose their course accordingly.
9- They put messages in context
The best language learners don't translate conversations and readings word for word. They guess the vocabulary they are not aware of to understand the message as a whole. They will investigate these unknown words at a later date.
10- All they care about is communication
The best language learners won't shy away from starting a conversation in their target language even though they are not fluent. They will use different techniques to get their message across. They will rephrase their sentences. For example they will use the present tense instead of the future or even use hand gesture,
They are not afraid to take risks and they have lost the fear of sounding ridiculous because of their mistakes or sloppy pronunciation.
11- They have a positive mindset
The best language learners don't get discouraged by setbacks. They just brush themselves up and carry on. They are aware that the journey is long and they actually don't care. They take one day at a time, celebrating all the little successes along the way.
They make the most of technology to help them achieve their goals.
They recognise the importance of accountability, so the're not afraid to publish their objectives and challenges on social media.
Most importantly, they are self-confident. They know nothing can deter them from reaching the finish line.
* Is there any other characteristics that you can think about? Please feel free to comment.
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