you’re moving on.
Learning a language can feel like a never-ending trek on a long and winding road, where the elements sometimes work against you, and where the sun shines but only on occasion. It had all started so well at the outset: all was fresh, all was new, you made headway, and that at top speed, spurred on by your own elation. Now you’ve reached a long upward slope, your strides seem to have become slower. You sit in the shade of a willow and weep with it, will this road lead somewhere and will you know notice you’re there?
Once you’ve embarked on an endeavour and are over the wondrous start, there comes a stage where you don’t perceive you’re making progress and may give up. The Intermediate Plateau is that long stretch half-way through the language learning journey, it’s where you kick yourself for not remembering language you’ve seen before and slowly frustration starts to set in. Numerous theories as to why this happens include a lack of strategies, the dichotomy of grammar and vocabulary, not following the ‘right method’ or plain complacency. Just as there are theories, remedies to help get you beyond that stage also seem to be available. Delve deeper if you will, but here are 3 things that will make you feel good and help you make the grade:
1. Move on up – don’t let complications stop you!
Never lose that drive you had: ‘Remember your dream is your only scheme so keep on pushing!’ Curtis Mayfield.
Find ways of keeping your motivation, sing in the target language, do whatever works for you! When you swim in an ocean and a wave hits you, you resurface and brave the next, you want to reach that shore, don’t you?
2. Look back
Keep track. Try recording your voice at the start of your journey. Listen to that recording again months later. Remember how it felt then? Try to compare that to how it feels to speak now. On this rocky path, looking back can help you move forward. Not only is it good to recycle what has been, it is also rewarding to notice the ease with which you now interact. You’re now miles ahead of the old you. Savour that sense of achievement.
3. Look ahead - inhale the future, exhale the past
Leave all your worries behind. Baggage can weigh you down, travel light, enjoy expressing yourself today and embrace all that is to come! It may take time and practice but somewhere ahead there is a future fluent you.
A big pat on the back to all you language learners out there - keep moving on, and up!