Foreign Languages: Top 3 Studying Mistakes

Language Learning: Top 3 Mistakes Made When Studying

Learning a language is a complex task. There are so many components in a language that studying it can seem like an obstacle to overcome itself.

Here are the top 3 mistakes made when studying a language.

  1. Using one medium– let’s be honest here people, it’s the 21st century and people have begun to flock to technology to solve nearly any problem. However, it’s important to remember that before we had computers and language software, people of the past would read and mainly use face- to face interactions to learn languages. There needs to be an infusion of different methods to achieve the perfect balance in your study routine. Focusing on one medium whether it be technology, reading, or entertainment isn’t enough.


  1. Not activating passive knowledge: Okay, so you know when you learn a word and it gets sent straight to the back of your brain like you never encountered it in the first place? That’s because in language learning there is this concept of passive vs active knowledge. Passive language is something that you’ve encountered but cannot produce it in any meaningful way that would cause a reactionary response. To effectively study a foreign language, learning how to activate passive knowledge is one of the greatest milestones you can accomplish. You can do this by mainly listening, reading and speaking – any activity that forces you to actively pay attention.


  1. Using one Resource: As I mentioned earlier, using one MEDIUM is not effective- but right behind that logic is the problem of using one resource. Let’s look at software programs for an example. Different programs are built for different things, if I were to use Duolingo to practice my Japanese kanji skills I would be at a lost because Duolingo focuses on rote memorization and passive to active knowledge. So instead I use Wanikani or the Kanji Study app on my phone. Knowing when to switch resources is an essential part of the language learning journey. Using one textbook that only teaches up to B2  when you are trying to achieve C2 isn’t beneficial, it’s damaging. Similarly, why use a resource that focuses SOLELY on grammar, when you are behind on vocabulary? SWITCH IT UP!


Can you identify with any of these ‘bad’ habits? Let me know in the comments!

Optimize your study methods here!


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