One of the biggest things that keep people from developing their language skills, is that we often stick to the beginner material for far too long. So in a way, we hold ourselves back.
I think it’s a great idea to buy a beginners book if you want to learn a new language. You can use this for about a year or so. Keep reading thru it and trying to understand and much as you can, but as soon as you feel ready, you should get in touch with the “real” language. By this I mean listen to the radio in that language, watch movies and listen to songs in that language. This way you will advance by increasing your understanding and knowledge of the language.
Once you’re brave enough to pick up a proper literature book in a foreign language, be ready to not understand most or even any of it at first. The first pages are rough, but it gets easier as you keep on reading. You won’t know all the words, nor will you understand a lot of it, but you’ll expand your vocabulary bit by bit. I like to have a dictionary or an online translator app with me while i read in another language, in case i want to look a word up I don’t understand.
It often happens that we stick to our beginners language book, because we don’t feel comfortable enough with it. We don’t feel like we have learned everything in it that there is to learn. You can picture the beginners book like the first step into a swimming pool, but now you’re gonna have to start swimming. So the worst thing you can do when learning a new language, is stay with the beginners book for too long.
It doesn’t really matter whether you can fully speak or use the language. It doesn’t matter if you can write or read it properly yet. The only thing that really matters is how much of it you can understand, how many words you know, how well you know the language and of course how much this language has become a part of your brain so far.
So again, biggest mistake is sticking with the begginers material for too long. Within a couple months, depending on what language of course, you should start getting into the real language. Audiobooks and movies are one of my favorite ways to do so.
The quicker you start learning the real language, the sooner you’ll advance in your language learning adventure. I think the goal is not to really understand something after 2 or 3 months, it’s to understand so much more after 8 or 10 months. And in order to achieve that, we must push ourselves past that comfortable beginners book and take a step toward the real goal. Scary, but worth it!