Posted on by Ulrike Rettig

How to Fuel Your Enthusiasm for Language Learning

Yesterday, as I was poking around one of the Forums at Fluent in 3 Months, I came across a post with the topic of Time Management in Language Learning.

A forum member asked about goal setting. One answer to her question especially caught my eye because it expresses a familiar feeling: "Yes I have [set a goal] but I rarely keep to it. I don't know why, but when I set a goal, I do everything to not reach it. ... I feel compelled and I rebel."

A lot of language learners can probably empathize with such a statement. Rebellion of that sort may have to do with personality, with former school experience, with family dynamics, with the enormity of the project, etc. In any case, it means you have to deal with your own feelings of resistance to something you actually want to do.

Based on experience, here's my best advice for overcoming this kind of inner hurdle: Approach your language learning from an activity that you truly enjoy. It is bound to fuel your enthusiasm


book and gamesIf you're a great reader, dabble with texts and their translations. Google’s Language Immersion for Chrome or a program like LingQ work well for that. Just think, the better you get, the greater access you will have to anything written in your new language.

Watching Videos and TV

If you like to watch moving images (I don't want to say "if you're a TV addict"), find online news videos, or follow a soap in your new language. You'll learn a lot of vocabulary by guessing from the context of the story, gestures, facial expressions, sound of voice, and such.

In addition, becoming familiar with a few basic grammar items will help a lot (such as pronouns, question words, etc.). I've posted a couple of links to soaps and videos, as examples, on our Facebook site.

Listening to Music

If you are crazy about music, download songs, listen, sing along, google the words and memorize them. There's plenty of evidence that this is a fun and effective way to learn a language. 

Playing Games

If you like playing games, you're in luck. You'll find a host of language apps and sites online that include games. Obviously, I'm hooked on games, and there are plenty of sites that I like, including our own GamesForLanguage. Here are a couple of others to try out: Digital Dialects, Mindsnacks, and Drops.


If writing is what you love, then start by writing out words, phrases, and short sentences. Duolingo, the popular, free crowdsourced language learning website, has you writing right from the beginning.

Community style programs, such as Busuu or Lang-8 include writing exercises and offer a chat feature with which you can communicate with native speakers.


If you love to talk, tell stories, and are not shy about speaking up in a foreign language, get yourself into a situation where you can be your chatty self.
Finding a language-exchange partner who's on your proficiency level is the best way.

Meet with or skype with each other, and do this often. Here are two online resources: "Conversation Exchange" (a site we successfully used in Barcelona) and "My Language Exchange." 

Textbooks and Grammar

Should I add this category? I for one really like to figure out how a language works. It’s not a bad idea to have a way to check some grammar points, be it in a textbook or on an online grammar site. 

Just remember, progress with language learning is not linear. It's more like a zig-zag, a back and forth. Some things you won't get for a while, others you'll master immediately.

Still, whatever you put in will get you a step ahead - be it a stint of learning vocabulary, practicing pronunciation, watching a news video, reading headlines, or scrolling through a foreign language Twitter feed. Even a few minutes count.
If you approach your language learning in a way that you personally enjoy, chances are your you'll maintain your enthusiasm at a high level.