Does this sound familiar to you: You start off learning Luxembourgish and in the first couple of months, you’re learning new things all the time. You’re just feeling inspired. You’re learning lots of new words. Your ability to understand Luxembourgish is improving on a daily basis. This is the usual rise at the beginning. Then inevitably what happens is the novelty of being able to use a little bit of your language starts to wear off and the reality of hard work hits you like a brick wall.
This is when it comes to actually use Luxembourgish, to speak Luxembourgish. It is at that point that the motivation just gets down. Then after a certain period of time, you find yourself just losing the passion that you had for it in the first place.
When it comes to staying motivated over the long term, the first thing to realize is that the only way to fail at language learning is to give up. So: motivation is one of the most important aspects of learning Luxembourgish.
It’s also very easily overlooked because it’s very intangible. Those people who are successful Luxembourgish language learners are successful because of huge amounts of motivation to keep going.
While everyone’s ideal learning circumstances may be different, here are 6 things that you can do to integrate speaking into your daily routine, so as not to lose any motivation.
1. Visualize Your End Goal
Do you know WHY you want to learn to speak Luxembourgish ?
Is it so you can socialise and make friends more easily? Or to pass an oral language exam? Or to be able to talk in Luxembourgish with colleagues at work and to understand native speakers?
Whatever your reason is, try this simple exercise: when you sit down to study Luxembourgish, spend a couple minutes visualizing (imagining) reaching your goal. Imagine yourself speaking Luxembourgish easily without translating in your head. Imagine yourself confidently talking about a given topic in Luxembourgish. Imagine listening to the news in Luxembourgish and understanding the context. Imagine having a conversation with native speakers! – that would feel great!
Then, tell yourself that EVERY study session is bringing you closer to that situation. This makes your studying more enjoyable and more meaningful, because you know that what you are doing is useful and that you are making real progress.
2. Don’t Take Mistakes So Personally
MISTAKES – they have the power to make you afraid to use your Luxembourgish, they can also make you feel humiliated when someone corrects you … they represent your failure to know the rules of Luxembourgish – right?
Mistakes only have all that power if you allow them to have such power. The goal of learning Luxembourgish is to communicate, and the fact is that many mistakes actually don’t damage communication.
If you say “Ech wunnen an Hesperange” instead of the correct version “Ech wunnen zu Hesperange”, people will still know what you’re saying.
If you say “Ech hunn eng déier Auer kaaft” instead of “deier” (a pronunciation error), everyone will understand what you meant because of the context of the sentence.
Yes, of course we want to correct these so you can speak more perfectly. But can you see that these mistakes aren’t so serious? That’s why you shouldn’t have strong negative thoughts about yourself. Just try to clarify the issue using other words. Think of a different, simpler way to say what you want to say.
Choose to view mistakes as an opportunity to learn, not a disaster!
3. Keep A Record Of Your Progress
Speaking of progress, it’s very motivating to keep a record of what you’ve accomplished. Get a notebook and your smartphone ready! After every study session write down “what I learned today” and RECORD the new phrases. This results in three things:
1 The act of writing it down helps reinforce it in your memory;
2 Having the notebook makes it easy to go back and review things you’ve studied previously;
3 To record yourself will help you to improve your pronunciation and your fluency. And you will gain in confidence!
4. When You Feel Lazy, Just Do A Small Action
Learning to speak Luxembourgish is a BIG project that can take many years, and sometimes you just feel discouraged and lazy – you simply don’t want to study that day. Instead of thinking, “oh no, I really don’t have time today” – tell yourself you’ll just do one TINY thing.
♠ I’ll read in Luxembourgish for just 5 minutes and look up any words I don’t know and say them aloud; or
♠ I’ll listen to just one audio of my study book in Luxembourg and I read along the transcript aloud; or
♠ I’ll learn only 5 vocabulary words or idioms and write 1 sentence with each word and record them.
When you do a small action to study Luxembourgish, one of two things will happen:
1 after a few minutes, you’ll finish and feel like you accomplished something, even though you don’t have any more time or motivation; or
2 after a few minutes, you’ll “get into it” and feel motivated to continue and study a little longer.
The hardest part is often starting! However, if you do a tiny thing you’ll definitely learn something – and you might regain your motivation in the process. The key is always to come back to Luxembourgish – don’t let yourself get so busy that you forget to study for weeks and months. Find a rhythm that works for your lifestyle, and be flexible enough to adjust it when necessary.
5. Challenge Yourself, Then Reward Yourself When You Reach Goals
Sometimes when you’re studying Luxembourgish by yourself, it can be discouraging because there’s nobody to say “Nice work!”. But if you give yourself challenges and rewards, it can give you the motivation to keep going and not quit.
Of course your main goal is to be fluent enough in Luxembourgish or to pass the Sproochentest, but you can set smaller goals in the process.
I hope these tips have been helpful. Don’t just read about them – put them into practice!
Sometimes you can also lose your motivation because you don’t know where to start, what to do next ….