If you are learning Luxembourgish, you are at the right place. Once a week I answer your language learning question. The idea is that by reading the questions that other students are asking, the difficulties that other students are having, you are going to get more motivation to keep learning and to keep moving towards your goals.
Now in the idea of language learning there is one big challenge that all of you face when starting to learn Luxembourgish. And that is:
How do you stay motivated when you’re on a journey that takes …… time! So, I picked up this question I received from one of my students who just started to learn Luxembourgish :
“How do you stay motivated when you don’t speak much of the language and it’s such a long way ahead”.
Now this is a fantastic question. Because when you first start learning Luxembourgish or any other language and you are a beginner, you have this kind of “honeymoon period” of about 3 or 4 weeks where you learn new vocabulary such as “Mäin Numm ass Anna. Ech kommen aus Polen an elo wunnen ech zu Lëtzebuerg…” etc and everything is really fun. And then the hard work starts to set in and the reality hits you! Then it stops being really fun and starts being quite hard work. At that point your study may become frustrating. You might start to feel that you are not making as much progress as you’d like to. Life might get in the way and you’ll find yourself suddenly having less time. I can understand how you can be tempted to just quit. Speaking Luxembourgish would be nice, but after all, you’ve been surviving without speaking Luxembourgish until now, so you might as well go on like that.
So, when you are at that level, at this beginner stage, what can you do to keep yourself motivated? Because to a certain extent – and this is the advise I tend to give to my students – is that most problems will be solved by TIME!
Yes, learning to speak and to understand Luxembourgish takes TIME, dedication and hard work. But it also takes a smart approach. That means using study hacks to get the best returns on the time you invest in studying. So, if you stick at it for long enough, you will remember the words, you will encounter the same patterns and recognize them, you will remember the rules and you will start to speak with less hesitations. I am going to approach this question from 2 different angles. Here is the first angle:
Remember Why You Started
The most important piece of advice I can ever give to you, is to remember why you started. What are your core reasons for learning Luxembourgish in the first place. Yes, I know this may sound a bit like wishy washy, I am sure you have heard this many times… But you have to remember what that reason is for you.
WHY did you start learning Luxembourgish?
If you don’t have that very clear then no other tips, tricks and tactics for motivation are going to help you. Now your WHY is …. may be to master spoken Luxembourgish so to be able to talk with native speakers on a daily basis or may be to take in the upcoming future the language test, called Sproochentest, so to get the Luxembourgish citizenship, or you need to achieve level B1 for your job etc. So you need to have that clear. Because, that is the one thing that makes everything else a lot easier. And now here is my 2 angle:
Motivation can come as a result of hard work!
What I mean by this is …..
…. let me tell you the story of a friend of mine: She is Italian and came to live here in Luxembourg 10 years ago. And then she decided that it was time to start learning Luxembourgish so to be able to apply for the Luxembourgish citizenship. And it was really tough for her because Luxembourgish has lots of different sounds, which were unfamiliar and the pronunciation was a tongue-twister and she didn’t have a community of native speakers around her so to practice with and also very little material she’s got out there to learn the language on her own at that time. She was in that position where she wasn’t really sure how to keep up the motivation for long enough to learn. And she didn’t see how it would be possible to reach her goal. But she really wanted to be successful and she started to follow the hallmark of my approach to learning Luxembourgish or any other language.
And my approach is …… let’s make it so easy and so achievable and so simple so there is no way that you possibly can fail. That’s why I recommend setting yourself mini-missions. The most important thing is that you have something to work towards that you can realistically reach in a short term:
Start your 20-minute day rule!
You do 20 minutes Luxembourgish everyday. You identify a couple of things that you can do, for example: find adequate and motivating resources. Now a resource is anything you use to learn Luxembourgish. It can be a course, a book, a podcast, anything really – or even a person, your teacher.
A motivating resource is a resource which is adapted for your level and which works for you. You actually learn something when you use it and it makes you come back for more.
So the rule is to do 20 minutes every day with a motivating resource and nothing else. Don’t aim at perfection or at being fluent in 2 months and I can guarantee that it really works.
The reason it works is because often when you try to build a new habit the way to that is by starting so simple that you can’t possibly fail. And a number of things happen when you do that, and the most important of which is that you taste success. You get the feeling of what it is like to achieve your goal, even it is a very small one and you feel the progress that comes of regular work.
As you will start doing these 20 minutes everyday you will start seeing the progress that will result in motivation. My friend ended up more motivated as a result. So you can get motivation once you do the work and you recognize and you feel the sense of progress from the work you have been doing
Doing a little bit of regular work everyday – feeling the correlation between time spent and the results and getting motivated.