The biggest obstacle to learning a new language is us.

It’s not time. It’s not the opinions of others. It’s not money. It’s our mindset that is holding us back.

The problem is we want to be perfect. We get disappointed when we make mistakes and become shy when others don’t understand us.

It’s not going to be easy to change your mindset overnight, but this is what I want you to do instead.

Don’t apologize for your pronunciation. There are 160 distinct English dialects around the world. Not even native speakers of English sound the same. So why are you worried that your pronunciation is a little bit different to the person you’re speaking to? It makes me sad when I see people making fun of others who speak with a different accent. Accents and dialects make a language rich and beautiful. I love to hear Irish people speak because it sounds so different to the way I speak English. It doesn’t mean that their way is better or worse, it’s just different. And different is perfectly fine.

Don’t apologize for your grammar. German articles are particularly complicated. You have der, die, das, but then, depending on the case, it can become den, dem, des. So a simple noun like ‘the house’ can be written in several ways.

Let me tell you a little secret of mine, but don’t tell a German I said this to you. 🤐 I don’t care that much about which is the correct article. I can say, das Haus or die Haus, you know I’m talking about a house. And that’s what matters most.

The best way to improve your grammar is by reading books and speaking to native speakers. I promise you, your grammar will naturally improve over time, so don’t stress about making small mistakes from time to time. As long as you can communicate and be understood, you are on the right path.

Don’t apologize when someone doesn’t understand you the first time. Calmly repeat yourself or try to say it in a different way. Be proud of yourself for trying. Do you know how many people say they want to learn a new language but never do anything about it? At least you’re trying and that’s amazing. I’m proud of you and I encourage you to keep going.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. disappointed (adj.): sad or displeased because someone or something has failed to fulfil one’s hopes or expectations.
  2. apologize (verb): express regret for something that one has done wrong.
  3. worried (adj.): anxious or troubled about actual or potential problems.
  4. make fun of someone (phrase): tease, laugh at, or joke about (someone) in a mocking way.
  5. promise (verb): assure someone that one will definitely do something or that something will happen.
  6. amazing (adj.): very impressive; excellent.
  7. encourage (verb): give support, confidence, or hope to (someone).

Comprehension Questions:

  1. What is the biggest obstacle to learning a new language?
  2. How many different English dialects are there?
  3. What is more important than perfect grammar?
  4. What should you do when someone doesn’t understand you the first time you say something?

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