Attributes of a Successful Language Learner
Apr14

Attributes of a Successful Language Learner

When people find out that I speak four languages (this is unusual in Australia, although I know it may not be so in some other countries) they usually immediately conclude either that I’m exceptionally intelligent or some sort of language genius. This can be frustrating at times, since because language learning is a huge passion of mine that has positively influenced my life in profound ways, I’m often looking to encourage others who are curious about learning languages or who have just started to learn one. It’s frustrating because the problem with such conclusions is that it is extremely discouraging for potential learners, as they will reason that they just must not be smart or lucky enough to have the gift of learning languages and so won’t even try. I firmly believe that I have no special language learning ability whatsoever. I don’t pick them up effortlessly, and only am able to learn them because I’ve developed my own method for learning languages that suits my learning style, and because I’ve realised that there are a number of common attributes shared by successful language learners. I learnt Italian in Primary School for 7 years, and never learnt much. I also did French all the way through High School, but only was able to learn it when I started researching the infamous internet polyglots Luca Lampariello and Steve Kaufmann, whose videos and articles gave me the tools needed to go forth and learn French to fluency. Anyone who spent the same amount of time learning languages as I do using a similarly efficient method could learn them just as well as myself. And so, without further ado, let me begin my personal analysis of what makes a successful language learner!   The Common Qualities of Successful Language Learners  1.    Motivation. Learning languages is actually not particularly difficult. The illusion of difficulty is created due to the amount of time it takes to learn one to fluency. Therefore, in order to ensure you keep at it long enough, you need to think about your motivation for learning your chosen language. Note that learning a language for bragging rights or to do well in school etc is generally not motivation enough. I don’t have a perfect formula for what constitutes a sufficient desire to learn, but in my case it is the wish to communicate with people from various cultures without difficulty and learn about their way of life. I love travelling, too, and realise that the only way to forge meaningful relationships and assimilate into a new society is by speaking the language. I also have am convinced that continuing learning...

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