learning a language

How do not Feeling Overwhelmed Learning a Language

When you feel overwhelmed, you’re probably not learning efficiently.

You’re probably not very happy either, meaning you’re at risk for quitting.

We all feel discouraged or overwhelmed at some point: the key is to not quit at that moment.

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Slow Down


If you start to feel overwhelmed, slow down and go easy on yourself.

Pull back on the new lessons, and review the old ones: stop adding new material and focus on review, preferably highly enjoyable review.

You didn’t learn your native language in a few months, but over years and years: learning a language is a continuous process.


Have Fun

Play with the language and have some fun with it.

Read comics, watch movies, write silly stories, make word collages with magazine cut-outs or do something else you enjoy.

Learn Bit by Bit


If something specific, like a particular grammar structure, is causing your frustration, first take a break from it.

When you return to it, break the subject down into small, digestible parts.

Learn just a little bit, then move on to another little bit.

This usually means learning to use a word or grammar structure for one specific situation at a time.

You can break it down further by finding very specific types of sentences to model.

Other learners


If you find yourself really getting bogged down, check in with other learners.


This is where other foreign speakers of your target language are useful;

they can explain the difficult parts of your target language in your language and on your terms.


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2 Responses

  1. Nicole

    I’m enjoying studying Italian but I recently got a bit overwhelmed just thinking about the number of words in L’Italiano. How am I ever going to learn all of them? How do get a handle on this fear before it becomes larger than my yearning for knowledge?

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