1. You feel you'd like to learn but you can't afford to spend a long time on it.
Establish a routine; you'll succeed if you manage to set aside some regular time. No matter how short it is. 20 minutes to spare a couple of mornings a week? That's fine, as long as you set realistic objectives for the time you've allotted. Completely mastering a language takes a lifetime, but learning the first 50 words takes a lot less!
2.Bad memories from school can cause a block. But what happened exactly? Were you put on the spot? Were you led to feel inadequate? Don't take all the blame on yourself!
Now you're in control! You choose when and how to learn. Make learning exciting rather than frustrating. Are you a music lover? Buy a CD of songs in the language and look at the lyrics. Food enthusiast? Look for dishes and recipes on the Internet. Don't expect to understand every word, just enjoy getting a feel for the language.
3.You may feel that, much as you'd like to learn, you're too old. But research shows that lifelong learning actually can protect you from decline. Lots of studies have shown that you can learn a language at any age, but don't expect too much from your accent!
Think about your everyday activities: whether it's gardening tips or a new recipe, you'll realize that you keep on learning. Do you learn best from books, from the TV, the radio or from other people? Apply the same method to learning a language. Or, if you can, join an evening class, to help keep your mind active.
4.Started many times? May be you still haven't found the approach that suits you best. Or maybe you just need to plan your language learning into your life.
Try setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-specific. For example, if you can't speak the language at all, a smart goal would be to be able to say some simple sentences in 3 months, using our Steps courses. Keep track of your progress and don't forget to reward yourself for your small achievements.
5.Whether it's because you weren't taught it, or because you studied it and you didn't like it, grammar is clearly not your thing.
Don't let the grammar hold you back. Get going! You don't need to speak in complete sentences, focus on getting the message across. Even if you make mistakes, people will still understand you. As you progress, try to learn phrases rather than words. You'll notice that grammar can be a shortcut rather than a barrier.
6.Uncomfortable with spontaneous speech? Yes, it can be embarrassing, but you want to speak. That's the whole point of learning!
Rather than focusing on how embarrassing it is, think of the amazing response you achieve just by saying hello in the language. Rehearse as much as you can in private, talking to your computer or your TV screen, for instance. And when it comes to the real thing, see if you can manage to relax and laugh at your mistakes!
7.You feel that nothing can prepare you for the speed of people speaking in their own language.
Prepare yourself so you'll be able to identify key words and concentrate on those. It will help you to piece together the meaning. Make sure you get the information you need, by repeating what people say to you. And always have some helpful phrase at hand, such as "Could you repeat please?" "I'm sorry I couldn't understand" "More slowly, please"
8.Poor memory? Learning a language can be a good way to improve it: a poor memory is probably an untrained memory. There's plenty of evidence that anyone can do it. It's just a matter of discovering the right key to unlock your own memory skills.
Try out different ways of remembering words and see what works best for you: listen, read, write and repeat: use all your senses. Link new words to those you already know (even ones in your own language). Get into the right frame of mind: if you intend to remember something, you'll be more likely to succeed.
9.Not sure if you'll manage a lot by self-study? You can gain a lot from learning at your own pace and in the comfort of your home!
Find the right material for you: books, TV, cassettes and now the Internet are there to help you. Think of your routine as well as your level. Are you more likely to read a book before bedtime, or listen to a cassette on your journey to work? And if you feel you lack self-discipline, share your resolution to learn with an encouraging friend.
1.You've got a bit of time to spend on your language learning. Brilliant! You'll be able to get more out of it.
Establish a routine: the most successful learners are those who manage to set aside some regular time. When would be better for you? Morning, lunchtime or evening? Try to aim at doing something at least twice a week.
2.You said false, so you were quite good at school! Then it's worth trying to remember what worked for you then. Was it the systematic approach to the language? Did you get a lot out of revising for exams?
Try to replicate the best bits of your school experience now. Choose a method and see if you can manage to follow it, from beginning to end. It could be evening classes, a book, a website or any other self-contained option. And test yourself every so often, to see how well you're getting on.
3.You're right! You're not too old to learn a language! Although young kids are usually extremely good at grasping a new language, you can get faster at what's important for you.
Work out why you want to learn. Is it for general interest or for a particular reason? For work, for going on holiday? What is that you'll need the most? For example, if you're a complete beginner in the language and just about to go abroad, practical phrases will come in handy. Then, according to your needs, decide on a specific method.
4.You are lucky you're not one of those people that got put off after a few lessons! Here's a good tip to keep your language learning efficient:
Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-specific. For example, if you can't speak the language at all, a smart goal will be to be able to say simple sentences in 3 months, using our Steps courses. If you already have some knowledge, you can probably achieve the same result in one month.
5.Feeling at ease with grammar? Superb! Grammar is a shortcut to fluency.
Completing sentences, classifying words, that's your thing. Search for good grammar sites on the Internet or buy yourself a book. See if you can manage at least two short exercises a week. Look for variety and enjoy exercises as if you were doing a puzzle. Working on the language will help to fix it in your mind.
6.You are not afraid of speaking. Good for you! Speaking is the aim of most learners.
Take every opportunity to use the language and challenge yourself to try out new phrases, even if it's just at a local restaurant. Find a partner to chat with informally, whether a fellow student or a native speaker. When chatting, repeat some of their words, you'll create an immediate rapport with the person you're talking to, and you'll learn lots of expressions!
7.You don't have much trouble understanding what you hear, so you must have a "good ear" for languages. You're certainly equipped with the perfect tool to learn!
Look for tapes, CDs, songs or other audio material. See if you can get someone to record written stories or dialogues on tape and listen as you read the text. Once you can follow the gist of the tapes, play them while you are doing something else. Or practise active listening: discuss what you've been listening with others. If you are alone, speak to yourself.
8.Quite good memory? That's a godsend. You need a lot of it to learn a language.
Pay attention to the things you do when trying to remember new words or names. Do you repeat them or write them down? Everyone's memory works differently. If you realize, for example, that you remember better, words that you've seen written down, expand your capacity by making use of other visual methods, like linking words with pictures or making a "mental video" of new phrases or actions.
9.You know that you can gain a lot from learning at your own pace and in the comfort of your home!
Find the right material for you: books, TV, CDs, cassettes and now the Internet are there to help you. Think of your routine. Are you more likely to read a book before bedtime, or listen to a cassette on your journey to work? And don't miss out on the social element: complement your learning with a visit to the particular country, or get a group together and start your own language club!