Motivation is very important when learning a language, or indeed anything else. Without motivation it’s difficult to continue studying for very long.

An enthusiastic teacher or tutor can really help, as can learning materials at the right level, i.e. one that stretches you, but not much. Setting yourself targets and goals, and rewarding yourself when you achieve them can also help. Another good way to motivate yourself is to spend time studying the language in a country or region where it’s spoken.

Way back in 1988 when I first tried to teach myself languages, I found it very difficult to continue studying for more than a few weeks. My lack of motivation was the main reason. Since about 1998 though, I’ve been studying various languages more or less continuously. Motivation seems to come more easily to me these days.

How do you motivate yourself to study?

This entry was posted in Language, Language learning.

9 Responses to Motivation

  1. Somedude says:

    Sadly, I really can’t be bothered with a language for more than a few weeks myself. I really should find a way to motivate myself.

    So, no ideas here. I’m still trying to learn myself.

    There’s a Russian course that’s starting up in a week or so…I hope the best for myself.

  2. This brings up something I’ve come to believe, the difference between “taking” a language and “learning” it.

    I’m sure there’s plenty of high school students in the United States who are “taking Spanish”, yet loathe it, and naturally do not really want to learn it. Just because one is taking a class for some language doesn’t mean they will learn to speak the language. On the other hand, I’ve always said that I’m learning such-and-such language, because I really do want to be fluent in it one day, and thus I’m motivated to keep on studying it. Of course, I am homeschooled, so maybe that helps!

  3. gee says:

    I found that having a good friend who learns the same language really motivates. So far it helped with Spanish.

    For some reason I am also really motivated to do anything late at night (around 2 a.m. or later).

  4. polyglottery says:

    I am learning to speak Spanish, French, and Italian for a variety of reasons, but in the end, it comes down to a desire to use each language. I feel it is good to derive motivation from as many sources as possible. I will make an entry about this soon on my blog. I enjoy reading yours. :^)

  5. Jared says:

    Sadly, I don’t often motivate myself. I wander around day after day thinking “I really should get back to my Finnish/Hebrew/Scottish Gaelic,” but I almost never do, and so what little I do learn in my sporadic fits of linguistic fervor starts to fade after a little while. This is what’s known as a bad study habit.

  6. TJ says:

    1. necessity
    2. the sound of the language
    3. the feeling thata language would make when u speak it

    these are the main motives for me!

  7. Zachary R. says:

    I find that most of my motivation comes on and off, however when I learn a language through a teaching school, it’s a lot easier then trying on my own. For a language like Japanese, I find it overly hard to study on my own since I can’t practice it often, and I forget it easily. I plan on going as an exchange student over to Japan in the next year, so I’m hoping to improve a lot on it while over there. Yet I also don’t want to look ridiculously lost, learning some Japanese before, and once over there, forgetting everything. They say being surrounded in another language helps you learn it, I hope it’ll also motivate me.

  8. David says:

    I, after sutdying an exercise or section of a language text book, make up little test so I am able to remember what I have learnt. I also try to make up songs about what I have learnt in the language and I sometimes I even type what I have learnt and make little posters, stuff like that.

  9. Benjamin says:

    Isn’t it strange that you actually want to learn languages but aren’t motivated to learn? Sounds schizophrenic to me… Sadly I experience the same thing all the time. :/
    Since my Spanish language course ended some weeks ago, I haven’t spoken a single word in Spanish or learned anything on my own…

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