You’re studying a second language, but aren’t really feeling it. But you don’t want to quit. At the least, you want to go through the motions and fake like you’re trying. You know, so you can tell people “language learning is so hard — I know, I tried.” Well, here are ten things you can do to make sure your efforts fail.
1. Set unreasonable goals
This is too easy, it’s practically impossible to get wrong. You can aim for fluency in three months. Or study 4 hours a day. Or attain native-level skills in six months. Then, when you don’t get what you’re aiming for, throw a fit. Like, a serious fit. Burn all your books and curse at your language software. If you do nothing else from the list, do this — it will frustrate you as much as that lion trying to eat that kid in a zebra costume on YouTube.
2. Choose a crappy primary resource
Why buy a multi-awarded software that’s been tried and tested by many language learners? Why invest in a tool that people attribute serious positive results to? Look for free stuff, instead. Especially those materials that came from books or classroom courses, then adapted online without any serious testing or study. Yeah, that ought to fail you big time. Even better, compile your own mish-mash of material, combining random stuff you find on forums, YouTube and open-source repositories into your own unique structure. Oh, and if you’re going to pay for something, choose software that get negative reviews and lots of hate from previous users.
3. Blame the product you use for any problems
Not learning fast enough? It’s the software’s fault. Can’t grasp the concepts. It’s the software’s fault. None of the words you memorized comes out when you tried using the language while out? It’s the software’s fault. Replace it with a new one. Then restart the cycle of blame.
4. Have unusually high expectations
Expect the software to turn you into the best second-language speaker of all time, conversing like a native speaker who has every element of the language available on tap. Expect to reach that level while having an absolutely easy time with your language software. Hey, all them people are grinning like they’re living charmed lives in the promo pages for language products, so expect to be the same. Only fair, right? Right?
5. Train sporadically
The reason you got a software instead of enrolling in a language class is so you can bend the lessons to your schedule. So, don’t just bend it, make a mess of it. Study for 4 hours the first week, 15 minutes the next, 40 minutes the one after that, and so on. Don’t find a regular, steady schedule — that’s for squares who can’t work out their lessons without the shackles of structure. You’re beyond that, so just open your software whenever you feel like it. Will you consistently build up skills this way? Of course not. But, lest you forget, this is all about finding ways to make your language learning fail.
6. Don’t practice
Forget about practice — it’s overrated. You already spend enough time sitting through lessons. Adding another 30 minutes to do monologue or doing practice conversations is too much. Didn’t that website say language learning is supposed to be easy? Practice is for hard things.
7. Ignore the exercises
Were you the type to skip the exercises in your school textbooks? If yes, then you’re probably the type to skip the exercises in your language software, too. Do that. Sit through the lessons and ignore the exercises. Just move on to the next lesson. Only nerds do that whole “practice what you learn” thing anyway. Put faith in yourself that you’ll magically remember all those things included in the lesson when you need them. You won’t, of course, but it’s a nice thought anyway.
8. Drop out in the middle of a course
First week of language lessons, you’re usually pumped. You’re dedicated, sticking to your schedule and following through every step of the way. But as the weeks pass, the whole thing gets boring. You skip a day. Then skip another. Then move the schedule back a week. Then drop out entirely. Follow that script and you’ll be just like majority of the people who’ve tried language learning, showing enthusiasm at the start and falling off the cliff shortly after that.
9. Don’t let yourself fail
You know how they say you have to fail before tasting success? Yeah, don’t let yourself fail. Failure hurts. Don’t go trying out any of the new phrases you learn without being sure you run it a million times in your head first, so you never crash and burn out in the field. Don’t take risks finding people to practice with — that could be embarrassing. Just sit in your room doing your lessons with the language software until it all clicks. Doesn’t matter if it takes 100 years until it does.
10. Let frustration get the best of you
There are many ways language learning can frustrate you. You forget half the words you were using fluently last week? Your lessons going slower than you anticipated? Your tongue keeps twisting every time you try the phrases in the field? Allow the frustration to take over and stress you out. The more stressed you are, the poorer your results will be and the stronger your desire will be to quit.
Let’s Get Serious
Hopefully, you realized the above was more sarcastic than anything. If you’re studying a language, you’re looking for success and results. Avoiding the behaviors and attitudes listed above will help you get closer to realizing that.
Successful language learning often comes down to a combination of good materials, adequate time, right attitude and dedicated work. Stripping one or more of that is going to make your journey unnecessarily harder. Nobody comes into an activity like language learning wanting to fail, so stack the odds in your favor and get rid of the things that can lead you astray.