Why do you want to learn a language? You must be honest with yourself. Do you want to better navigate the country you’re living in? Do you want to better communicate with family members? Are you trying to understand a book, movie, or show that you like? Is it traveling that you’d like to do? Perhaps learning a language is solely for personal enrichment. Regardless of what this is, LL Principles will help you achieve it.
1. Know Your Motivation
Knowing your motivation is extremely important before you start on any journey. If you went on a hiking expedition in the Amazon, wouldn’t you bring a knowledgeable tour guide, or at least had a general sense of where you were headed? In the same way, be sure to clearly articulate why you are learning this language. Write it down on paper, on your mirror, somewhere that only you will see. This is your mission statement. If it doesn’t make your chest and stomach physically tingle, you haven’t found the right statement.
2. Set Short-Term Goals
Be very careful to not over-engineer your learning. This is especially crucial in the beginning. Over-engineering or over-planning your learning can be a dangerous motivation pit when you don’t meet preset expectations for yourself. You could have set a goal like, “read Harry Potter in French by XX/XX” just to be stumped by the strange vocabulary that exists in a fantasy and be further pushed behind your schedule. Don’t set schedules. Set small weekly or bi-weekly goals if you’re serious about progress.
The most important thing you can do when it comes to goal setting is believe in yourself and set achievable goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve them. If you are continually ‘falling behind’ where you think you should be, set smaller goals and reward yourself for completing those goals. You are your own best friend and your worst enemy.
3. Keep Your Goals To Yourself
You are statistically less likely to finish your goal if you tell others before it’s done. Don’t do that. Don’t tell everyone that you’re learning French. Instead, tell yourself that you will show everyone at the proper time. You’re a spy and you have to keep your cool. You’re on a path to enlightenment and you have a secret that will be leaked at the proper time.
Your goals are fantasy until they’re complete. Keep pride-boosting things like, “Yea, I speak Chinese” from spilling out. Humble yourself and keep chugging. Surprise them.
4. Enjoy Yourself
One of the primary things that many people forget when learning a new skill is to enjoy themselves while doing it. LL can seem like studying if you take the classroom and textbook based approach. The problem with this is that our brains are associating the act of engaging with that language with work. This is not good. Does your favorite hobby feel like work? It’s technically work, but it’s enjoyable work.
Every moment spent learning a language should be enjoyable. With LL, it’s possible to reap the rewards straight from the beginning. If you are not enjoying yourself, stop and do something else. If you do not enjoy your language learning process, try a new one. It’s better to stop than to tell yourself lies like “I’m not smart enough” or “I can’t learn a language from home.” You can and you should. But you’re not going to do it by studying. You’re going to do it by having fun.
LL Principles Are A Code Of Conduct
It doesn’t matter what language you are learning, these principles should guide your path. No matter what practice methods or system you choose, by following these principles you will find LL to be an adventure worth fighting for!
If you’re still unsure what method to use, continue to our Guided Practice Outline for a general sense of how to learn a language.