Learning Language is still hard lol

General discussion about learning languages
Granrey
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2023 3:15 pm
Languages: spanish, English
x 12

Learning Language is still hard lol

Postby Granrey » Wed Sep 13, 2023 4:07 am

Hi Everyone,

I decided to share some of my findings in my learning French journey of almost 9 months and to maybe clarify some excuses that people have as of why they can't learn a language. This might help others.

At this point I can say a lot of things in French but I cannot comprehend others at all in real life. Though, I can understand podcasts like the intermediate french podcast inner french. However, The Duolingo french podcast, Its a hit and miss.

Let's start with the excuses people use.

1) I can't pay for learning apps.

Well I have paid for Memrise (completed the course) and Lingodeer (I finished first course, 1/3 on the second). I also use Duolingo with the classroom option for unlimited hearts. I spend over an hour per day with these apps.

2) I can't buy french books.

Well, I have over 100 books that I have received for free on Facebook groups as they are posted there for free. I read them often, some of these books I have read several times already like: french for dummies, easy french step by step, etc. However, so far I have read like ten of them

3) I don't have a native speaker to practice with.

Well, at work I sit next to a person born and raised in France. I also work daily with two co workers from Quebec and one of them barely speaks English, so regardless I want it or not. I have to use my french when I try to speak with him. I can ask questions and practice with any of them but as much as I try I barely understand them. They do understand me though.

To the Quebec guy, I speak in French and replies to me in English. He has a similar situation, he can speak English but he can't comprehend others much. though his English comprehension is way better than my French comprehension.

When they talk among themselves. I only hear lots of noise.

4) I can't speak another language at work.

At my place is totally ok to speak any language as we have people from all over the world. Aside from English, we speak Arabic, French, Turkish and others.

5) My native language is too different from French.

Well my native language could not be any more closer to French as my mother language is Spanish. Still I find them to be very different.

6) This is my first second language so It's hard to learn.

English is my second language, I already went trough the journey. However, it's still a tough one.

7) I don't have enough comprensible and interesting input.

Well, I watch Netflix either in French or English with subtitles as well either in French or English.

I have other tools like Google translate, etc

I'm sharing this just so you know that even if you have all the things I have. It's still hard to learn a language.

The only excuse I have is that I don't go to a real school or pay tutor.

Real life conversations are way more complex that what I find in apps, books and podcasts. The only thing that I find to be close to real life is the books with short stories in French.

This has also made me think why English is so successful in the international scene.

Spanish, French and Portuguese seem to have different conjugation, words, phrases, etc depending if you're writing a book, talking to your friend, family, boss, etc This is what some people refer to Colloquial, Familiar, Formal, etc

However, English seems like basic English is spoken even by the native speakers in all situations.
2 x

User avatar
Le Baron
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3153
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:14 pm
Location: Koude kikkerland
Languages: English (N), Fr, NL, De, Eo, Sranantongo, Es (maintaining)
Studying: Swahili.
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=18796
x 8472

Re: Learning Language is still hard lol

Postby Le Baron » Sat Sep 16, 2023 3:11 pm

Isn't this actually a log?
2 x
Reading - where I alter the target to meet the achievement: 6 / 12
Duolingo Esperanto from French - for fun: 39 / 45
Is biad an fhir làidir brothas agus bainne-goitre..

Granrey
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2023 3:15 pm
Languages: spanish, English
x 12

Re: Learning Language is still hard lol

Postby Granrey » Tue Sep 19, 2023 2:43 am

Le Baron wrote:Isn't this actually a log?

lol no. maybe to show others that even if you have access to what I have, language learning is still hard.

honestly, I did not expect learning french would be this hard.


At the same time curious if there is a hack or technology I'm missing.

after substantial research it seems I'm only missing conversation with AI and pinsleaur while driving.

is there anything I'm missing to help with learning?

I wish I could take actual courses in person or online or tutors but those seems beyond my reach due to lack of time.
0 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 4th Dan
Posts: 4893
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), French (C2) English (C1), Italian (C1), Spanish, German (B2)
x 17007

Re: Learning Language is still hard lol

Postby Cavesa » Tue Sep 19, 2023 6:56 am

Granrey wrote:
Le Baron wrote:Isn't this actually a log?

lol no. maybe to show others that even if you have access to what I have, language learning is still hard.

honestly, I did not expect learning french would be this hard.


At the same time curious if there is a hack or technology I'm missing.

after substantial research it seems I'm only missing conversation with AI and pinsleaur while driving.

is there anything I'm missing to help with learning?

I wish I could take actual courses in person or online or tutors but those seems beyond my reach due to lack of time.


The main thing you are missing is an actual coursebook, that would systematically introduce you to the basics. No "hacks" and technology needed.

While the point "language learning is hard regardless of budget", I would partially agree and find it useful to remind each other of it. Even though a less tight budget can really help.

As to your points:

1.apps: they are not a main resource. Whether or not you pay for them changes nothing, they are mostly a waste of time. Duolingo is an extremely poor beginner course. Memrise: some of the user made courses are excellent as supplement. The official course is sloppy trash and the company should rather be ashamed of it than promote it. Lingodeer is good for the east asian languages, but I found it extremely slow for the european ones.

2.Yes, pirate copies are always an options, but it doesn't matter to a beginner. Vast majority of beginners won't really progress well with native stuff right away. That's just a myth that textbook haters love to spread. People learning well just by jumping right into such hard stuff are actually pretty rare.

3.Speaking with natives actually doesn't really matter at first. In like 25 years of language learning, I haven't really observed any huge advantage for people, who got to speak to natives right away, and those learning well with just a coursebook and audio. Yeah, it can matter from the intermediate levels up. But for a beginner, it's overestimated.

4.The same thing as point 3. For a beginner, it doesn't really matter.

5.That's actually a very good point, which should be more widely spread and more often repeated in the LL communities. Even if you know a related language, a new language is always a new language. Speaking it well will require time and efforts.

6.Yes and no. I'd say English doesn't really count for vast majority of people. We learn it differently. The highly inefficient efforts (typically a curriculum designed to reach B1 in 10 years ) are outweighted by the pure pressure on people to learn or be punished, and by the huge amount of time spent (wasted) on it in schools. And from the intermediate level up, English media is simply much much easier accessible. Even if you don't really try, while other language require efforts to just access. You cannot really compare the two.

7.Again the same point: it doesn't really matter that much at the low levels

8.Real life conversations being more complex: yes, but not really if you reach C1 and consume tons of native input. This is a usual complaint of beginners and lower intermediates, and it is very much true at that point.

9.No, that is not the reason. English is not easier. And nope, English doesn't just have "basic English" for all situations. Actually lack of some features (such as formal/informal distinction) can be socially pretty confusing for people used to having such a luxury in our native languages. And while English may have fewer conjugations, it comes with its own problems, such as simple vs continous tenses, phrasal verbs, etc. Not being able to decode the various registers is actually a rather common problem for immigrants and also people working in mixed environments. And the non native misreading a situation can really suffer social consequences.

English is more successful, because it is forced unto people much more than any other language. Unless you want to be a working poor doing manual job in a factory, you are forced to reach some level and punished for not doing so. No other language has such a privilege worldwide. This is the number one reason. Forcing a large part of the population to learn at least some level. Later on, people are more likely to expand on that, rather than learn something new (especially as they are often traumatized by their English learning experience), whether or not the alternative might actually bring more to their life. Forcing people in schools is the number one reason, that not even Hollywood can compete with (even though it sweetens the deal considerably).
8 x

User avatar
mattmo
White Belt
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2023 2:27 pm
Languages: English (N), Cantonese Chinese (C1), Mandarin Chinese (A2)
x 43

Re: Learning Language is still hard lol

Postby mattmo » Wed Sep 20, 2023 7:49 pm

I agree. Learning languages is very difficult especially if it's the first language you've learnt after your native language.
0 x
My language learning blog: https://langapprentice9.wordpress.com/
Started language learning in 2020

munyag
White Belt
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:22 pm
Languages: Shona (N), Spanish (Beginner), French (Beginner)
x 42

Re: Learning Language is still hard lol

Postby munyag » Fri Sep 29, 2023 9:00 am

Granrey wrote:Hi Everyone,

I decided to share some of my findings in my learning French journey of almost 9 months and to maybe clarify some excuses that people have as of why they can't learn a language. This might help others.

At this point I can say a lot of things in French but I cannot comprehend others at all in real life. Though, I can understand podcasts like the intermediate french podcast inner french. However, The Duolingo french podcast, Its a hit and miss.

Let's start with the excuses people use.

1) I can't pay for learning apps.

Well I have paid for Memrise (completed the course) and Lingodeer (I finished first course, 1/3 on the second). I also use Duolingo with the classroom option for unlimited hearts. I spend over an hour per day with these apps.

2) I can't buy french books.

Well, I have over 100 books that I have received for free on Facebook groups as they are posted there for free. I read them often, some of these books I have read several times already like: french for dummies, easy french step by step, etc. However, so far I have read like ten of them

3) I don't have a native speaker to practice with.

Well, at work I sit next to a person born and raised in France. I also work daily with two co workers from Quebec and one of them barely speaks English, so regardless I want it or not. I have to use my french when I try to speak with him. I can ask questions and practice with any of them but as much as I try I barely understand them. They do understand me though.

To the Quebec guy, I speak in French and replies to me in English. He has a similar situation, he can speak English but he can't comprehend others much. though his English comprehension is way better than my French comprehension.

When they talk among themselves. I only hear lots of noise.

4) I can't speak another language at work.

At my place is totally ok to speak any language as we have people from all over the world. Aside from English, we speak Arabic, French, Turkish and others.

5) My native language is too different from French.

Well my native language could not be any more closer to French as my mother language is Spanish. Still I find them to be very different.

6) This is my first second language so It's hard to learn.

English is my second language, I already went trough the journey. However, it's still a tough one.

7) I don't have enough comprensible and interesting input.

Well, I watch Netflix either in French or English with subtitles as well either in French or English.

I have other tools like Google translate, etc

I'm sharing this just so you know that even if you have all the things I have. It's still hard to learn a language.

The only excuse I have is that I don't go to a real school or pay tutor.

Real life conversations are way more complex that what I find in apps, books and podcasts. The only thing that I find to be close to real life is the books with short stories in French.

This has also made me think why English is so successful in the international scene.

Spanish, French and Portuguese seem to have different conjugation, words, phrases, etc depending if you're writing a book, talking to your friend, family, boss, etc This is what some people refer to Colloquial, Familiar, Formal, etc

However, English seems like basic English is spoken even by the native speakers in all situations.


It seems that your main interest is speaking and understanding what people are saying. I think a lot of the time native speakers will dumb down their language so that it is not too hard for you when they speak to you. I would recommend you definitely look at Laurebell`s post on how she went about in learning French. (Huge focus on learning the sounds of the language right at the beginning). I like Idahosa Ness of the Mimic Method and how he essentially and initially focus on the elemental sounds of the language as well as learning how to pronounce the 500 most common words in the language. Theres a lady who has a cheap course called Sounds of French (I discovered her during the pandemic) and theres another huge emphasis again on pronouncing the sounds of the language. Cavesa herself above has also
a fantastic log in regards to her French journey and I think a lot of the time sometimes taking time to see what people who have been successful learners of the language that you are learning are doing is definitely useful. I also did not mean to drown you in more courses but ofcourse theres something that you are doing right now thats not working hence why you have come to the forum. All the best and hopefully in nine months you will have improved from where you are now
0 x

munyag
White Belt
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:22 pm
Languages: Shona (N), Spanish (Beginner), French (Beginner)
x 42

Re: Learning Language is still hard lol

Postby munyag » Fri Sep 29, 2023 9:03 am

Cavesa wrote:
Granrey wrote:
Le Baron wrote:Isn't this actually a log?

lol no. maybe to show others that even if you have access to what I have, language learning is still hard.

honestly, I did not expect learning french would be this hard.


At the same time curious if there is a hack or technology I'm missing.

after substantial research it seems I'm only missing conversation with AI and pinsleaur while driving.

is there anything I'm missing to help with learning?

I wish I could take actual courses in person or online or tutors but those seems beyond my reach due to lack of time.


The main thing you are missing is an actual coursebook, that would systematically introduce you to the basics. No "hacks" and technology needed.

While the point "language learning is hard regardless of budget", I would partially agree and find it useful to remind each other of it. Even though a less tight budget can really help.

As to your points:

1.apps: they are not a main resource. Whether or not you pay for them changes nothing, they are mostly a waste of time. Duolingo is an extremely poor beginner course. Memrise: some of the user made courses are excellent as supplement. The official course is sloppy trash and the company should rather be ashamed of it than promote it. Lingodeer is good for the east asian languages, but I found it extremely slow for the european ones.

2.Yes, pirate copies are always an options, but it doesn't matter to a beginner. Vast majority of beginners won't really progress well with native stuff right away. That's just a myth that textbook haters love to spread. People learning well just by jumping right into such hard stuff are actually pretty rare.

3.Speaking with natives actually doesn't really matter at first. In like 25 years of language learning, I haven't really observed any huge advantage for people, who got to speak to natives right away, and those learning well with just a coursebook and audio. Yeah, it can matter from the intermediate levels up. But for a beginner, it's overestimated.

4.The same thing as point 3. For a beginner, it doesn't really matter.

5.That's actually a very good point, which should be more widely spread and more often repeated in the LL communities. Even if you know a related language, a new language is always a new language. Speaking it well will require time and efforts.

6.Yes and no. I'd say English doesn't really count for vast majority of people. We learn it differently. The highly inefficient efforts (typically a curriculum designed to reach B1 in 10 years ) are outweighted by the pure pressure on people to learn or be punished, and by the huge amount of time spent (wasted) on it in schools. And from the intermediate level up, English media is simply much much easier accessible. Even if you don't really try, while other language require efforts to just access. You cannot really compare the two.

7.Again the same point: it doesn't really matter that much at the low levels

8.Real life conversations being more complex: yes, but not really if you reach C1 and consume tons of native input. This is a usual complaint of beginners and lower intermediates, and it is very much true at that point.

9.No, that is not the reason. English is not easier. And nope, English doesn't just have "basic English" for all situations. Actually lack of some features (such as formal/informal distinction) can be socially pretty confusing for people used to having such a luxury in our native languages. And while English may have fewer conjugations, it comes with its own problems, such as simple vs continous tenses, phrasal verbs, etc. Not being able to decode the various registers is actually a rather common problem for immigrants and also people working in mixed environments. And the non native misreading a situation can really suffer social consequences.

English is more successful, because it is forced unto people much more than any other language. Unless you want to be a working poor doing manual job in a factory, you are forced to reach some level and punished for not doing so. No other language has such a privilege worldwide. This is the number one reason. Forcing a large part of the population to learn at least some level. Later on, people are more likely to expand on that, rather than learn something new (especially as they are often traumatized by their English learning experience), whether or not the alternative might actually bring more to their life. Forcing people in schools is the number one reason, that not even Hollywood can compete with (even though it sweetens the deal considerably).


As usual Cavesa you give very insightful info when it comes to learning a language. Last time I was on here you were looking to move countries and I had suggested the NHS for you but I think the cold weather in goold old blighty put you off!lol. Hopefully you are somewhere nice and warm and enjoying your job. Are there any languages that you are working on right now?
0 x


Return to “General Language Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dml130 and 2 guests