Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

General discussion about learning languages
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Le Baron
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby Le Baron » Mon Sep 06, 2021 9:18 pm

It's not so much the languages I already know well or fairly well; only the ones I'm studying. I won't make a show of diagnosing the reasons or whatever, but I appreciate people letting me know that they also have this once in a while.
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby IronMike » Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:29 pm

I've never gotten sick of language learning, but I have gotten sick of learning a specific/particular language. That's why every year before my Russian DLPT I study for only about 2 months. Then after that, no Russian for a while. I get burnt out.
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby gsbod » Tue Sep 07, 2021 10:24 am

Ha, yes!

The problem for me is vocabulary. Grammar is fine, in a slightly nerdy way. Listening, reading and speaking is great, at least in those languages where I already know enough to do those things.

And some words are fun, depending on, say, the etymology or some unusual features around how they are used. But most are just words. Thousands of words to describe things I can already describe in at least one other language. And at the moment I just can't motivate myself to grind through them, in any language.
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby tiia » Wed Sep 08, 2021 12:20 pm

I remember some years ago (probabaly about 9?) I felt like I would like a break from Finnish, which was the only language I was learning at that time, but since I knew how difficult it would be to continue after a break, I continued. That was because there was only one course I could take, and absolutely no other courses below that one, where I could have gone to after half a year's break.
With other languages I have taken breaks, The situation was different and it was not an all-or-nothing decision.

Once the language is at an advanced level and I have been able to integrate it into my normal life, there is no option to completely abandon it. I may forget a bit, but it shouldn't do much harm.

A lot depends also on the length of the break, but even if you forget something, I do think it is not as bad as it is sometimes suggested. If you have learned the basics a month without studying shouldn't do much harm. Also longer breaks are possible. In fact, after my first Swedish course I took a somehow involuntary 8 months break... That was the point when I realised, that I have to continue learning now, if I want to speak that language one day.
In my usual learning I almost never do something daily anyway. I'm just not that kind of person and I strongly dislike anything that tells you "you have to do XY every day" or "even if it is just 5 min each day". Too much pressure.
However, if I happen to do something daily, that's great.
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby mick33 » Thu Sep 09, 2021 6:04 am

Yes, sometimes I have gotten sick of language learning and taken unplanned breaks. Every once in a while, it seems like my brain rejects any language that isn't English for a day or two :o :roll: . I don't know why this happens but it usually passes quickly.

Other times I take breaks when there's too many other things going on in my life such as going on holiday for two or three weeks or funerals or weddings. This definitely does slow down my progress, but it is nice to "go off island" once in a while and then come back refreshed.
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby Flickserve » Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:09 am

Le Baron wrote:I know there'll be advice about doing this and that to lighten the burden; and how such-and-such an approach is probably not conducive to pleasure and motivation. However don't you just ever feel like saying: 'I'm not going to do this for a bit'? And be saying it because it's actually not a really massive deal?.

That's me now :) :)
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby Decidida » Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:48 am

iguanamon wrote:
We have a saying here in the Caribbean about people who are away. Whether they are gone away for weeks, months, or years doesn't matter. They are simply "off-island". They may come back. They may not. If they do come back, we welcome them home. Language-learning is like that too.


Off-island. I have not heard that phrase since my childhood and forgot the concept as a whole. Thanks. In ways that I do not know how to explain.
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby garyb » Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:55 pm

I've been through that a few times, the most acutely being after I had spent five months travelling around Spain and Italy and I came back feeling very burnt out from languages. On top of being exhausted from the immersion and actually using the languages on a daily basis, I was seriously questioning whether all that effort had really been worth it. There had been plenty negative and discouraging experiences with native speakers, and communicating in the languages was still so difficult and nerve-wracking despite years of study and reaching what I thought was a pretty high level.

I reckon it was a good thing. It made me realise that many of my language-learning motivations had been unhealthy, like wanting to prove myself and feel like "one of them" rather than a typical tourist, my expectations had been unrealistic, and I had been focusing too much on the negative and not on all the wonderful experiences I also had thanks to my knowledge of the languages. Spending so much time away from home also made me realise that I had been neglecting some of my other passions, in particular music, and a break from languages gave me the chance to put some proper time into that.

I did eventually come back to language learning, and with much healthier attitudes and expectations. My motivation wasn't and still isn't anywhere near as strong as it was back when languages were my main interest, but I'm getting much more joy from what I do do and I no longer have that perfectionism and drive to prove myself that led to the burnout. I'll happily speak my languages when the opportunity arises, but I'm much more chillled about it and I'm glad to have lost that feeling that I "need" to do it and do it perfectly and don't feel like a failure if someone responds in English anymore.
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby Lisa » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:12 pm

I'm there now! My language learning had somehow retreated into a sort of fun-with-anki world. I really was enjoying drilling, new words, adding phrases for difficult words, examples, tweaking the cards and trying to fine tune my drills... but anki had turned into a sort of end in itself, and with no actual possible end. And since I wasn't accomplishing any other goals... and without any likelyhood to travel or use German any time soon... I just had to stop, this isn't working in the big picture of my life.

We'll see how I feel when the long wet winter sets in.
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Re: Do you ever just get sick of language learning?

Postby lusan » Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:44 am

Le Baron wrote:I have to say that apart from Indonesian (which I'm taking easy) at the moment I'm actually quite sick of the process of language learning. Of targets for reading and listening etc.

I know there'll be advice about doing this and that to lighten the burden; and how such-and-such an approach is probably not conducive to pleasure and motivation. However don't you just ever feel like saying: 'I'm not going to do this for a bit'? And be saying it because it's actually not a really massive deal?

It may be being overwhelmed generally. I have a lot of other things to do and sometimes I'm not getting them done or done on time. I'm contemplating freezing them all except for dabbling in Indonesian for pleasure.


It is a good idea to take a break to cool down.
Otherwise, burn out happens.
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