Yogi Berra wrote:Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical
Learning a language isn't as easy as the hype on course book covers would have us believe. There's a lot of routine involved, memorization and repetition. I think we must be predisposed as humans to dislike such tasks and find them boring. Perhaps because it's ingrained within us to want to have the maximum benefit for the least amount of effort. I think for learners who have yet to learn their first second language to a high level this is one of the highest hurdles and biggest barriers to learning a second language. It takes time, repetition, routine and discipline to go through them.
I'll give an example. For the last coupe of weeks, I've been training myself to learn to read in a new script for me, "Solitreo"- the cursive version of Djudeo-espanyol/Ladino's Hebrew "Rashi" alphabet. It's read from right to left. At first glance, it looks like incomprehensible squiggles, almost like Arabic writing. The books I'm using are not exciting. One is a 128 page (letter sized) pdf with alternating lines of Solitreo and Latin script and another book which has short passages written in all four of the Ladino scripts. It's slow, tedious, boring and yet, at the same time,, thrilling to me to be doing this.
This may seem contradictory but it's all true for me because, having learned some languages to a high level and how to read in another script (Rashi) already, I know where it will lead me. I know it will open up a new world for me. That's why I can tolerate doing what I know I have to do to get myself to where I want to be. Monolingual beginners lack this innate knowledge because they haven't yet acquired it through first hand experience. They have to have faith that all the repetition, memorization and routine are integral to learning a language. Having that faith can be a hard thing to do when slogging through the swamp of conjugation, grammar, declination, pronunciation and dictionary look-ups. So, I believe Mr. Berra.