Start talking to yourself outloud in your target language. No, but seriously! One of the biggest stumbling blocks in language-learning is fear: fear of being wrong, fear of embarrassing yourself, fear of sounding silly, fear of making mistakes. When you are learning another language, all of these fears are legitimate. But they are also INEVITABLE. You are going to fail, and sound silly, and be wrong, but THAT IS OKAY!
As your Language Coach, I want you to be wrong. I want you to make mistakes. Not because I am a mean old grinch, but rather because this is how we grow and learn at an accelerated pace. When you practice talking to yourself outloud in your target language, you stop worrying about feeling self-conscious and you start playing with the language–its sounds, its quirks, its cadence, its syntax. Once you get over the ‘this is super awkward, why is maestra telling us to do this?‘ stage, your confidence will begin to soar. And when it is time to talk with a native speaker in a real conversation, you won’t think twice about it.
If you’re really unsure about the whole talking-to-yourself thing, leave yourself a few post-its in the target language around your house with Duolingo words and phrases, and read them aloud when you see them. The bathroom mirror is ideal. Let Language stare you in the face every morning!!
Every evening, we go to bed, satisfied that our Duolingo XP place on the leaderboard is safe and sound. We have worked hard, and it shows. Every morning, we discover that someone has passed us.
Kudos to everyone participating in the Duolingo Language Challenge. I had NO IDEA (*cue fireworks*) that you all were so competitive! This is amazing!! I am studying Russian and trying to stay ahead of everyone, but wow!! All I can say is thank you for keeping me on my toes and at the top of my game!