Why Am I So Bad at Languages?

Bad at languages? Unlock your inner polyglot by following these powerful language learning tips.

Why Am I So Bad at Languages?

Are you bad at languages? Did you flunk language classes at high school? Perhaps you can just about say ‘quiero una cerveza’ or ‘un café, s’il vous plaît’ but that’s the extent of your language skills?

If so, you’re certainly not alone. Many people avoid learning a foreign language because, to put it bluntly, they believe they suck.

However, they’re wrong. There’s no such thing as being ‘bad’ at languages. Even if you struggled to retain those complicated French verb endings at school, tried and failed to master tones in Mandarin Chinese or embarrassed yourself once when speaking a foreign language, you’re not ‘bad’ at languages.

You just haven’t found the right language learning method for you yet.  Everyone can master a foreign language, provided they’re consistent, have the right mindset and are willing to put in the work.

So why do you believe you’re bad at languages? What can you do to overcome these mental barriers and master the language of your choice? Let’s take a look.

You’re not being consistent enough

If you’re not dedicating time every day to learning your new language, you’ll struggle to stay motivated and make any process. For example, does this scenario sound familiar?

After binge-watching Money Heist (Casa de Papel) on Netflix for months, you decide that it’s finally time to master Spanish. You feel fired up, excited and dream of the day when Spanish slang rolls off your tongue effortlessly. Every night, you spend hours poring over textbooks and you even sacrifice your entire Saturday morning to perfect your pronunciation.

But before long, the novelty wears off and life gets in the way. After a long day at work, you decide that you’d rather just chill. Just one evening off isn’t going to cause many problems, is it? But one night turns into two, into three.

Before you know it, weeks have passed, and you’re stuck at a language learning plateau.

How to fix it

Study your foreign language in short bursts every day. Fit it around your daily schedule and make it a part of your everyday life. When you do this, language learning becomes automatic, and you don’t have to rely on willpower.

Why not listen to a language learning podcast as you walk the dog or enjoy some of the hands-free exercises on the Mondly app as you wait for dinner to cook?

mondly handsfree

You’re not speaking it enough

Speaking your new language is a key part of the learning process. It moves everything you’ve learned to the front of your mind and turns it active. You’ll recall these words more automatically, pronounce them with ease and start developing your fluency in that foreign language.

However, many people hate speaking in a foreign language and will do everything they can to avoid it. They make excuses, they explain that they’re “not ready to speak yet” or that “they just need to learn a few more words”. But the truth is, the best time to start speaking is right now. Although polyglot Benny Lewis’ ‘Speak from Day One’ approach might not suit everyone, breaking free from passive language learning can work miracles. In fact, it will show you that you’re actually pretty good at learning languages.

How to fix it

Make time to speak the foreign language every week, even if you’re an introvert. Many language learners like to set up language exchanges. Look it up.

If you want to build your confidence first before you speak to a native, make sure you’re using the Augmented Reality feature on the Mondly app. Reading out loud can also be a great way to build confidence and improve your pronunciation.

You don’t have a ‘why’

Successful language learners are usually children, partners of native speakers and people learning a foreign language to further their career or move to a new country.

Why? Because they have a good reason to learn – a strong motivating force that guides them through any hurdles or difficulties they encounter whilst learning their new language. They’re more likely to make language learning part of their daily routine (see the section on consistency above). They’re more likely to reach out to native speakers to practice.

Because of this, they’re more likely to succeed when it comes to learning their new language, instead of declaring that they’re ‘bad at languages’ and giving up entirely.

How to fix it

Find your ‘why’. Ask yourself, “why do I want to learn this language?” Be completely honest with yourself and make sure your reasons are strong, emotional, personal and immediate.

Don’t just use someone else’s ‘why’ because you think it sounds good. Choose something that resonates with you. Once you’ve decided, write it down on paper and display it somewhere prominent. You can refer to this when you need an extra boost in motivation and keep pushing forwards.

You lack confidence

Often, your belief that you’re bad at languages can prevent you from learning languages effectively. It’s a vicious cycle. Unless you break free from this kind of negative self-belief, you’ll struggle to learn a foreign language to fluency. As the famous Henry Ford quote says; “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,”

However, this can be easier said than done and it’s often deep-rooted. Your lack of confidence could result from negative experiences at school or a situation when you tried and failed to learn a language. Perhaps you lack self-confidence in general, you’re a perfectionist, you struggle with social anxiety or you simply don’t believe that you could achieve such lofty goals.

How to fix it

Build confidence in your ability to learn a language by using Mondly to develop your skills. You can learn and practice in the comfort of your own home until you feel better about your skills. It’s also worth developing your confidence in other areas of your life by reading widely and perhaps consulting a professional if required.

You don’t enjoy the experience

Learning French seemed like such a good idea at the time, but it now feels like yet another chore you need to cross off the ‘to do’ list. Perhaps your boss signed you all up for a corporate language learning program and you dread the day you need to attend class.

If this sounds familiar, your problem isn’t being ‘bad with languages’. It’s your learning method and subsequent lack of enjoyment.

How to fix it

Switch to a fun language learning method like Mondly and you’ll soon notice a big difference. You’re more likely to look forward to the experience instead of dreading it and so will feel more motivated and excited about learning and using your new language. Because you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll be more likely to remember your lesson content and learn faster.

You should also have fun in your language. For example, listening to podcasts on topics you enjoy, follow social media accounts in your foreign language, watch engaging YouTube videos or enjoy movies in your target language. The choices are endless.


Bad at languages? Overcome your struggles with Mondly for Business

Unlock your team’s language learning skills by using the Mondly WORKS platform and app. With our innovative and enjoyable blend of tech features activities, you can boost their motivation, grow their confidence and learn more effectively than ever before. We offer general and specialist content tailored to your need that is delivered in an on-the-go format, perfect for busy lifestyles.

Support the future of your business by signing up for our corporate language learning packages.

Find out more by contacting business@mondly.com

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