Lesson Transcript

The fear of making mistakes is one of the biggest roadblocks to language learning. Out of all the discomforts that come with learning a foreign language nothing looms quite as daunting in the mind of a beginner.
It’s almost as if we’re hardwired to want perfection when we speak. However the reality is that mistakes are unavoidable. I’d even go so far as to say that they’re an integral part of the learning process. Think of small children who are just starting to learn language. They mispronounce words. They use words incorrectly, and their grammar is usually pretty lousy. Sometimes they even make up their own words. Research and academic opinion show that this is all a natural part of the process.
If making mistakes made up such a huge part of learning our native language, why do you expect it to be any different when learning a foreign one?
In this video we’ll talk about five ways you profit from your mistakes while learning language
1. Be Humble
There’s no room for pride when you’re learning a new language.
If you’re a beginner, native speakers will likely be very accommodating with your mistakes and slower reaction times during conversations. There’s no reason to be embarrassed.
Remember that it’s a sign of respect to learn another person’s language. No one expects you to speak flawlessly right from the start.
No one else will hold your mistakes against you, so make sure you don’t either.
2. Don’t play the comparison game
Whether it’s a native speaker or another Hebrew learner don’t make the mistake of comparing your progress to someone else’s.
No doubt at the beginning there will be times when it feels like everyone is speaking perfectly while you’re left in the dust. Try not to get discouraged. It’s your race to run not theirs.
Everyone has their story, their own reason and method for learning. Comparing your progress to someone else’s is like well...comparing apples and oranges.
It’s easy to freak out when someone speaks perfectly while you’re struggling to make the most basic sentences. But don’t forget that while you can easily see someone else’s success, you’re much less likely to see the hard work that got them their. Every speaker you meet had to learn the language at some point. Whether it was as a child or an adult they too had to wade through their mistakes before they could speak fluently.
3. Get feedback on your mistakes
Anytime you write or speak your target language, try to get feedback from someone who speaks the language. I cannot stress this enough.
You can make mistakes day and night, but if you’re never corrected they do you no good. You can’t learn from a mistake if you don’t know that it’s a mistake. Many in the language learning community hold that feedback is an integral part of the language acquisition process.
Encourage friends and language partners to correct your speaking anytime, all the time. Worst case scenario you’ll make a mistake 100 times and get corrected 100 times.
It might seem petty or frustrating, but it’s all worth it the 101st time when you finally remember your mistake and start speaking correctly.
Some mistakes will be easy to amend and you’ll adjust your speaking right away. Others might take awhile. Speaking a foreign language is a lot like juggling. There are a lot of moving pieces you have to keep in place. Whether it’s pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, getting feedback on your effort will help refine your language skills until you feel comfortable in the language.
4. Listen to your brain
After all the practice and feedback, eventually you’ll start to notice that certain words come to mind without having to think about them. Instead of having to scan your brain for the latest “new vocabulary word”, you begin to instinctively come up with a word for a given sentence.
Don’t hesitate to blurt this word out.
Sometimes it will be completely wrong. Other times it will be dead on. When words start coming to mind instinctively that means your brain is starting to get more and more used to using a new language. The incorrect words are sort of like growing pains. You’ll have them for a little while but over time you’ll encounter them less and less, until all of your instinctual words are correct.
So don’t let the fear of making a mistake short circuit your brain's natural learning process. Go with whatever word your brain gives you!
5. Never take the easy way out
If there are two ways to say what you want to say in your target language, one you know and are comfortable with, and the other you’re not sure off….use the one you’re least comfortable with.
Purposely choose subjects and sentence constructions that are difficult for you. Don’t get complacent and fall into the trap of using the same phrase over and over again, or having the same type of conversation with a language partner. You always want to push your language skill boundaries to stretch them even further.
6. Enjoy the language for its own sake
Small children not only make a ton of mistakes when they learn to speak, they also have a ton of fun. To them life and language are both one giant mysterious adventure. They aren’t worried about making progress, impressing people, or speaking perfectly.
Take a note from their playbook. Enjoy the language as you learn it. Let your focus be on the beauty and magic of the language. Savor the times you get to use it. If you loosen up and enjoy the ride you will learn much faster.
Mistakes are a powerful and indispensable part of learning a language. I hope this video inspired you to stop being afraid of them and start embracing them.
And for even more help learning a new language, mistakes and all, check out our complete language learning program. Sign up for your free lifetime account by clicking on the link in the description. Get tons of resources to have you speaking in your target language. And if you enjoyed these tips, hit the "like" button, share the video with anyone who's trying to learn a new language, and subscribe to our channel. We release new videos every week! I'll see you next time. Bye!