The 5 Stages of Enjoyment in Language Learning
Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here, and today I'm going to talk about the
most important thing in language learning, and that is enjoyment.
Enjoyment is not only the goal of language learning, enjoyment is how you
manage to succeed in language learning.
And I'm gonna talk about the five stages of enjoyment because after all, as
we go through learning the language, we are in different stages of either
we're beginning the language or we're starting to get ahold of the language.
And there are different kinds of enjoyment.
At least that's how I experience language learning.
So when we begin the first stage, when we're starting to discover the language,
at first it's all noise, but somehow as if by magic, what was noise becomes words,
uh, you start to be able to read a little bit even though you listen many, many
times and keep on missing the same parts of what you're listening to and, and you
look up words, let's say on LingQ, and you review them and you listen again.
but it's exciting.
It's, it's that excitement of discovering something new and, and that's in the
first stage of learning a language that kind of maintains me because
so much of it is, is not meaning.
It's, it's unclear and, and it, it just seems so strange at first, and
particularly when I was learning Persian and Arabic with different writing
systems, it's so difficult at first.
However, there's that enjoyment, that excitement of, of sort of,
I'm embarking on something new.
I'm gonna learn this.
What to me is an exotic language and, and I find that initial period very enjoyable.
And so there is that first period of enjoyment of discovering something new.
But then after a while, we get tired of listening to the same
stuff over and over again.
There's a lot of repetitive listening in the early stages in order to, you
know, to get a hold of the new language.
So in that second stage, all of a sudden what we have been listening to, even
though we don't really understand it all that well, it's becoming familiar.
We're going to, we're going back to something that's no longer brand new.
In fact, it's familiar.
Still we understand 10, 15%.
It seems like there's an endless number of words to learn, but it's a familiar.
And, and I enjoy that challenge when I'm starting to get a bit of a sense
of the language and it's familiar, familiar sounds, listening to the
same sounds that I don't understand, struggling with the same writing
system that still presents challenges, uh, but it's a familiar environment.
I, I miss it when I'm away from it.
I enjoy going back to it, even as the language remains very unclear for me, I
enjoy that second period as we're starting to turn the corner in the language.
Now, the third period, which is kind of that long plateau, which for some
people can be a period of frustration.
For me, it's, it's not a period of frustration because I'm now in a
situation where I understand, depending on the content, you know, 20, 30,
40, 50% of some content, if I go back to some of my earlier, sort of, mini
stories in LingQ where I've heard them so many times, I understand 70%, 80%.
And every time I listen, I pick up something new of my old beginner
material, and then I push myself forward into new and more difficult material.
And, and I'm starting to feel that I am going to be able to understand
that language, even though the language still is a bit opaque.
It's still not really comprehensible, but I recognize that I understand a
lot more than I understood before.
I almost feel as if I shouldn't understand it, but I don't fully, I
understand some words, but I can't get a sense of the whole meaning.
But still it's enjoyable because I sense that I'm on the verge of
reaching, you know, a level of, of comfortable comprehension.
I'm not there yet, but I think I'm gonna get there.
So that sort of plateau period, which is quite long, it seems there's an
endless number of words to learn.
It doesn't bother me 'cause I know that if I continue with my good
language learning habits, if I continue listening and reading, just as I've
already progressed from where I was before, I will continue to progress.
The brain is getting used to the language.
The brain is already much more used to the language than it
was in the previous stages.
Now the fourth stage, which is in many cases, you know, as far as
people go, it's as far as I have gone in a number of my languages.
It's where I understand 80% of most, uh, language content, uh, of movies.
It can vary, but let's say 60, 70, 80%, I understand.
I'm comfortable if I'm in a conversation with someone.
I can hold up my end of the conversation, I understand what the person is saying.
I'm able to get my meaning across.
Sometimes, you know, with mistakes or sometimes I can't remember words, and
sometimes I don't understand some of the things that are said to me, but by and
large, I am functional in the language.
I meant B2, call it almost B2.
I'm functional, and if I leave the language there, I've got
something that I can come back to.
So that's a sense of, you know, achievement accomplishment.
It's, it's for, in many languages, it's the end of the line.
I made it.
If I leave it and let it slide into disuse, if again, I'm in a situation
where I need it, I can bring it back.
So I can tick it off.
This is a language that I have learned.
That doesn't mean I'm perfect, but I've learned it.
So that's stage four of enjoyment.
Now, stage five, which is the ultimate, is when you are totally
comfortable in the language.
You understand the movies.
You can be in any situation at any time.
You cannot speak the language for two years and you come back to
it and you're just about where you were when you left off.
Uh, this is like, I call it a C1.
This is where I feel, you know, and I can listen to literature,
I can read literature, I can do whatever I want in the language.
That is sort of the ultimate.
Now you don't have to achieve that in the language in order to
enjoy the process of learning the language or to enjoy the language.
I enjoy the language at the beginning.
If I start another language, uh, might be Hindi or something, I'm
gonna enjoy that initial period of discovery, then I'm gonna enjoy that
second stage when it's familiar.
It's a familiar struggle, but it's a familiar environment.
I don't mind that.
I enjoy that.
Then when I'm on that long plateau, where it seems as if I'm not progressing
and yet I'm understanding more and more I feel as if I should understand.
I almost understand, but I don't understand.
Uh, but then the fourth stage is when I'm kind of at, almost at
the final stage of my journey.
I'm comfortable, I'm happy I can tick it off.
But then with some languages, if I get the opportunity, I'll push myself
through to that final stage of enjoy...
But all stages are enjoyable.
And enjoying the language learning process is not only the key to success,
but it also should be the goal.
So thank you for listening, and if you enjoy my, uh, enjoy my videos,
please um, you know, subscribe.
And I'll leave you with, uh, a couple of videos that I've done
on a similar subject in the past.
Bye for now.