At the end of August I decided to stop dabbling. As much as I love sneak peeking at other languages, it was yet another form of procrastination not to focus on my main languages and dwell in the sweet sweet feeling of quick successes that comes with it. But it also left me quite unhappy.
At some point I began to notice that the urge to start dabbling was the strongest whenever I hit an obstacle in one of my main languages: missing vocabulary in Spanish, loss of proficiency in Japanese, reaching a language plateau in English.
Tackling those obstacles wouldn't have been that difficult if I had divided them into smaller units. I could have started journaling in Spanish to see where I lack vocabulary; I could have started to just review all the notes and material I have for Japanese to get a feeling for it again; and there are a lot of good articles about the language plateau problematic out there as well.
Instead, I took the easy way out and chose another language. No missing vocabulary because there weren’t any words in my brain to begin with; no loss of proficiency because there was no proficiency to loose in the first place. I was running away from my language problems.
But while I was happily dabbling my way through the world of languages, my frustration about myself, still not being able to write a short text without a dictionary or to hold a decent conversation with a native speaker, kept growing.
And I realized: How would I ever be able to reach my goals if I start running away as soon as it gets a bit uncomfortable? Language learning is not all sunshine and rainbows, especially once you have left the beginner’s area. It takes time and effort. But that doesn’t mean it is less fun – being able to understand more because you know more is actually quite a good motivator if you think about it.
And so I stopped dabbling.
To my absolute surprise it worked wonderfully. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I tweeted about it and thus could be held accountable for whenever I would’ve come up with another language. Or maybe it was the strange feeling of contentedness that I finally made the decision to focus on those three languages I love the most. Or maybe it was both but it really doesn’t matter in the end.
I am still working on the running away part but now that I have mentally constricted the pool of languages I am studying, I feel confident that this will be the next step. At least now, if I feel like language procrastinating, it actually benefits one of my target languages. 😄
28th October 2018
Hej! My name is Sandra, I am a language enthusiast from Germany and this is where I document my language learning journey.
I will share my study goals with you, talk about the ups and downs in language learning, try out cool challenges and show you study methods that I found particularly helpful. Making myself accountable here will hopefully give me some extra motivational boosts!
All main articles will eventually be translated into the four languages I am most comfortable with: German, English, Spanish and Japanese. Older posts can be found under "Archive" and are sorted in order of date.
You won't find a comment section under my posts, so if you feel like chatting a bit, or talking about language-y things feel free to message me on social media or write me an email!
Enjoy your stay and happy studying!