Language mistakes

Making mistakes when speaking or writing a new language is not the same as making certain other kinds of mistakes, at least to me. Making mistakes in language learning is not only necessary, it is a good sign. If you are not making mistakes you are not trying hard enough to use the language.

If you are trying to learn to master English, there are certain things that you are not going to remember, or get right, until your brain is ready. All you can do is to continue to use the language as much as possible, to read, to listen and to speak and write. Eventually that elusive word, or that difficult phrase, will start to become natural.

Each time you make a mistake and get corrected is a chance to remember that word or phrase. This is easier in writing than in speaking. If you are corrected when speaking you are already a little tense so you do not remember too much. You are keen to say what you want to say, so the corrections are a bit of a distraction and can even discourage you a little bit. At best you can remember one or two things from each conversation.

However, if you write in English and have your writing corrected, you have time to really look at what you wrote. You have the time to think about the mistakes you made. You can look at the learning opportunities you created. If you take it the right way, your mistakes are your opportunity to improve. Some mistakes you will have to make over and over.?? The most important thing is not to be upset over mistakes. They will correct themselves eventually with enough exposure, but only when your brain is ready. So just keep enjoying the language.

Send me your comments and questions directly. steve@thelinguist.com

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