Don’t Worry About Language Problems In Advance! | TROLL011

I’ve got some important news for you…

And you’d better pay attention, because I was doing some research recently, and it turns out that actually language learning is…

Well, it’s too hard.

It’s too complicated… in fact, you won’t believe some of the stuff I’ve dug up.

And actually, if you pay attention to all these warnings, I think you’ll agree that it’s all so hard that you’d really better not bother.

Are you ready for this?

Take a moment to compose yourself.

Because this stuff is unbelievable!

The Hardest Thing About Italian?

Let’s start with Italian…

Italian! Who would have thought Italian was hard!

You see, I just discovered that there isn’t just one kind of Italian.

Oh no.

Turns out that in Italy, in fact, there are 34 kinds of Italian…

They speak a bit differently in every part of the country…

Sometimes, even Italians themselves don’t understand each other if they’re from different parts of Italy…

And it’s the same country!

Can you believe it?

So if you want to learn Italian, you actually have to learn 34 different languages!

I bet you’re glad I warned you!

Now you can spare yourself the trouble!

Honestly…Spanish is probably easier.

But then…

Spanish Dialects Are Really Tough!

olly richards the rules of language learning

I’ve heard that Spanish is also really tough.

I mean… let’s say you like to go on holiday to Costa Rica, so you want to learn Costa Rican Spanish…

Well, if you go to any big language bookshop…

You’ll find tonnes of textbooks to learn Spanish from Spain…

But wait!

In Spain, they use “vosotros” to say “you” when you’re talking to groups of people… which you’d never use in Costa Rica!

So you can forget about using those textbooks.. if any textbook uses “vosotros” you should just chuck it out immediately!

Now, you might find a Mexican Spanish textbook…

But before you get your hopes up, it’s no good, because in Mexico, to say “you” (singular) they use “tú”, whereas I heard that in Costa Rica they use “vos”…

A totally different word…

So you see, you’re going to learn WRONG SPANISH if you learn from those textbooks!

Straight in the bin.

You’ll never learn Costa Rican Spanish.

Quite honestly, if anyone tells you that you can learn a new language… they’re lying to you!

Don't Even Get Me Started On Chinese!

It’s all a conspiracy…

And it’s not just Spanish or Italian.

A friend of mine married a Chinese girl and wanted to learn Chinese.

He was quite keen…

After all, learning Chinese would have been quite useful when he visited China to meet his family!

But then…

As he was researching the language…

He saw on Wikipedia that there’s this one Chinese character…

And get this … you won’t believe this…

One Chinese character which has 58 strokes (biáng)

biang character

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Can you believe it?

You use this character to write the name of a special kind of noodle.

A noodle! In English, it’s just 6 letters. In Chinese, it’s 58 strokes… for one word!

My friend tried writing this character once, for fun.

He sent me a picture…

It looked more like spaghetti than a noodle, and he said it took him about half an hour to write!

I told him to give up learning Chinese right away…

I mean, how can you learn Chinese if it takes you half an hour to write one word?

Forget it.

Chinese wasn’t for him.

And don’t even get me started about a language like German!

Three different word genders?

Three different cases…

Take my advice and spare yourself the trouble!


Stop Searching For Excuses

Listen…

If you are looking for an excuse to give up on a new language…

To throw in the towel and pack it all in…

You’ll find it.

Of that, ladies and gentlemen, you can be sure.

From dialects to pronouns, cases to characters…

There are a LOT of reasons why the language you’re learning right now is far too hard, and why you should cut your losses and quit now before it gets any worse!

The examples I’ve given you here are some of “the classics”…

Some of the excuses that I read on forums, in my inbox and in blog and YouTube comments!

But at times like this, it’s good to remind yourself of the famous quote:

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles…

…most of which never happened

And there’s no better quote on the planet to describe these “language urban legends”…

Which quite frankly are more useful as dinner party trivia, than as objective comments about actually learning the language.

Yes…

It may be true that there are tonnes of local dialects in Italy.

But it’s also true that everyone can speak to you in standard Italian.

Yes…

It may be true that there are a few different words for “you” in Spanish, depending on the country you’re in…

But it’s also true that 99% of everything in Spanish is pretty much exactly the same wherever you go… so dismissing entire textbooks or courses because of “vosotros” is simply a bad decision!

In fact, I have a special training programme for intermediate Spanish learners, called the Fluent Spanish Academy.

And in the Fluent Spanish Academy, I actually deliberately include material and listening training from different parts of the Spanish speaking world, in order to prove the point that you can understand and learn from different varieties of Spanish…

olly richards spanish quote

In fact, as a learner, it makes you stronger!

(And if you’re learning Spanish, you should definitely look at what we do in the Fluent Spanish Academy!)

What Can You Do Right Now To Progress Your Language Learning?

Moving on…

It may be true that there are Chinese characters with 58 strokes.

But it’s also true that you’ll never ever have to write that character with 58 strokes!

Yes…

It may be true that German has a few cases to wrap your head around…

And, yes, those cases are downright weird if you’re new to German…

But it’s also true that you can learn cases in a very natural way…

Gradually…

Without having to drive yourself crazy with rules.

(Which is exactly how we teach in our German Uncovered programme)

Whatever example you give me…

About something that is really hard in language learning…

I can show you why your example may be interesting

And great to impress your friends at dinner parties…

But completely irrelevant to the important question of:

“What can you do right now to make progress in your language learning?”

Without a doubt…

There are a lot of very useful things you can be learning right now in your target language to drive your progress forward and your level up

Without worrying about difficult things may or may not crop up in the future.

And most importantly of all…

Things that seem hard now, might not seem quite so hard in the future!

So worrying about difficult stuff in advance is really not a very smart move!

So do yourself a favour…

And don’t worry about language problems until they’re actually biting you in the behind!


What language learning problems are holding you back from committing to your goals? Are you ready to put them to one side? Let me know in the comments below!

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