How to stay motivated to learn Luxembourgish

Does this sound familiar to youYou start off learning Luxembourgish and in the first couple of months, you’re learning new things all the time. You’re just feeling inspired. You’re learning lots of new words. Your ability to understand Luxembourgish is improving on a daily basis. This is the usual rise at the beginning. Then inevitably what happens is the novelty of being able to use a little bit of your language starts to wear off and the reality of hard work hits you like a brick wall. This is when it comes to actually use Luxembourgish, to speak Luxembourgish. It is at that point that the motivation just gets down. Then after a certain period of time, you find yourself just losing the passion that you had for it in the first place.

When it comes to staying motivated over the long term, the first thing to realize is that the only way to fail at language learning is to give up. So: motivation is one of the most important aspects of learning Luxembourgish.

It’s also very easily overlooked because it’s very intangible. Those people who are successful Luxembourgish language learners are successful because of huge amounts of motivation to keep going.

While everyone’s ideal learning circumstances may be different, here are 6 things that you can do to integrate learning into your daily routine, so as not to lose any motivation.

1. Visualize Your End Goal

Do you know WHY you want to learn Luxembourgish ?

Is it so you can socialise and make friends more easily? Or to pass the Luxembourgish language test? Or to be able to talk in Luxembourgish with colleagues at work and to understand native speakers?

Whatever your reason is, try this simple exercise: when you sit down to study Luxembourgish, spend a couple minutes visualizing (imagining) reaching your goal. Imagine yourself speaking Luxembourgish  easily without translating in your head. Imagine yourself confidently talking about a given topic in Luxembourgish. Imagine listening to the news in Luxembourgish and understanding the context. Imagine having a conversation with native speakers! – that would feel great!

Then, tell yourself that EVERY study session is bringing you closer to that situation. This makes your studying more enjoyable and more meaningful, because you know that what you are doing is useful and that you are making real progress.

When you reach your goals, celebrate! Tell a friend, family member, teacher, or Luxembourgish partner. You will feel proud of yourself because you’ve accomplished your goal – and ready to take on the next challenge on your journey to fluency in Luxembourgish.

2. Don’t Take Mistakes So Personally

MISTAKES – they have the power to make you afraid to use your Luxembourgish, they can also make you feel humiliated when someone corrects you … they represent your failure to know the rules of Luxembourgish –  right?

WRONG!

Mistakes only have all that power if you allow them to have such power. The goal of learning Luxembourgish  is to communicate, and the fact is that many mistakes actually don’t damage communication.

For example:

If you say “Ech wunnen an Hesperange” instead of the correct version “Ech wunnen zu Hesperange”, people will still know what you’re saying.
If you say “Ech hunn eng déier Auer kaaft” instead of “deier” (a pronunciation error), everyone will understand what you meant because of the context of the sentence.

Yes, of course we want to correct these so you can speak more perfectly. But can you see that these mistakes aren’t so serious? That’s why you shouldn’t have strong negative thoughts about yourself. Just try to clarify the issue using other words. Think of a different, simpler way to say what you want to say.
Choose to view mistakes as an opportunity to learn, not a disaster!

3. Keep A Record Of Your Progress

Speaking of progress, it’s very motivating to keep a record of what you’ve accomplished. Get a notebook, and after every study session write down the date and a summary of “what I learned today.” This results in three things:

1 The act of writing it down helps reinforce it in your memory;
2 Seeing the notebook fill up with knowledge encourages you that you are learning a lot and making progress;
3 Having the notebook makes it easy to go back and review things you’ve studied previously.

4. When You Feel Lazy, Just Do A Small Action

Learning Luxembourgish is a BIG project that can take many years, and sometimes you just feel discouraged and lazy – you simply don’t want to study that day. Instead of thinking, “oh no, I have to do an hour of Luxembourgish study, and I really don’t feel like it / don’t have time” – tell yourself you’ll just do one TINY thing.

For example:

♠ I’ll read in Luxembourgish for just 5 minutes and look up any words I don’t know.
♠ I’ll listen to just one audio of my study book in Luxembourg.
♠ I’ll learn only 5 vocabulary words or idioms.

When you do a small action to study Luxembourgish, one of two things will happen:
1 after a few minutes, you’ll finish and feel like you accomplished something, even though you don’t have any more time or motivation; or
2 after a few minutes, you’ll “get into it” and feel motivated to continue and study a little longer.

The hardest part is often starting! However, if you do a tiny thing you’ll definitely learn something – and you might regain your motivation in the process. The key is always to come back to Luxembourgish – don’t let yourself get so busy that you forget to study for weeks and months. Find a rhythm that works for your lifestyle, and be flexible enough to adjust it when necessary.

5. Find A Language Exchange Partner

Scientists have discovered that one of the most effective motivators is “peer pressure” – that’s encouragement or expectation from people who are similar to you. For example, if you want to get into the habit of running, it’s hard to get off the couch and decide to run alone. But if you have a friend who you agreed to meet at 4:00 to run together, you’re much more likely to go.

Having a friend who is also learning a language makes it easy for you to help and encourage each other! Regardless of how you do it, make sure you have access to people with whom you can regularly speak and listen to in order to continue your learning. Since speaking is such an important component in communication and fluency, make sure to flex this muscle often.

6. Challenge Yourself, Then Reward Yourself When You Reach Goals

Sometimes when you’re studying Luxembourgish by yourself, it can be discouraging because there’s nobody to say “Nice work!”. But if you give yourself challenges and rewards, it can give you the motivation to keep going and not quit.

Of course your main goal is to be fluent enough in Luxembourgish or to pass the Sproochentest, but you can set smaller goals in the process.

For example:

1 Read and listen everyday for 10 minutes in Luxembourgish
2 Learn 10 new words every day for one month
3 Be able to talk for 5 minutes straight in Luxembourgish (try talking for 1 minute, then 2 minutes, and work your way up to 5)

I hope these tips have been helpful. Don’t just read about them – put them into practice!

Sometimes you can also lose your motivation because you don’t know what to study, where to start, what to learn next ….

… take my course:

Lëtzebuergesch am Alldag: Lauschter a Schwätz  can help you with that. It has more advanced conversations that are full of common expressions used by native Luxembourgish speakers. It teaches you the phrases in context so that you’ll be able to remember and use them – and become more fluent in Luxembourgish as a result. You can send me your speaking/writing and get my feedback, which is also very motivating.

Ask your FREE lesson of this course at: anne@glift.lu