Learning a New Language. Why Is It so Hard?

[Source: This is a repost and it was originally written (answered) by Mauricio Estrella on Quora here]

Is it hard to learn a language? Was it hard for you?

Yes. Learning a new language feels difficult to everybody. The main reason is that you unconsciously compare your acquired knowledge with its equivalent in your native language. You will undervalue yourself because you’re using baby words to describe things that in your reality have a lot more meaning.

There is no formula to get rid of this natural human reaction, but you can coat this negative impact in the early stages of learning. I can’t tell you how exactly, but early rewards and progress awareness help a bit.

What are good apps for English learning? Which one is the best?

For vocabulary and elementary things, there’s plenty of choices. Unfortunately, you rarely get to a level where you can say that you learned a language. I’ll explain why:

Imagine you go to a school that is 100% free, where unfortunately the teachers don’t get paid. The operations staff doesn’t get any paycheck either. However, someone invested a lot of money in the infrastructure of the school.

As a result of this, you have beautiful classrooms, full of eager students. Your teacher doesn’t show up. But it’s alright, you have books and tools to give it your best shot, and you try to do it all on your own. Obviously, you’re getting a sense of progress because just before, you knew nothing about what you’re reading.

One you finish school, you’re out in the wild.

Out there with you, there’s another person who also finished school. In this school teachers and staff do get paid, and they’re the ones leading the complex part of the learning. The basics are in books and cards, and the complex concepts are taught by the experts.

This person invested in their language learning, and as a result, this person has a better understanding on how to deal with real life situations.

You could argue that there’s a lot of free content in the internet, and everything exists out there, readily available for everybody.

Well, the same applies for cows and wheat out there in the wild, and yet not everybody can just go make bread on their own. You need an oven. You can’t just go mine a cave for metals, hunt for natural gas and then build an oven. Right?

The takeaway of this is, you have to invest in your education. Of course there will always be free tools to learn the basics, but a secondary language, can’t be acquired without interaction, conversations, progress monitoring, performance tweaking, adaptable content, etc. All these methods require heavy operations at the other side of the screen, and free apps aren’t equipped to support this.

Internet, books, tv shows and english movies with subtitles definitely helped a lot, but studying involves an extra mile that not everybody can confidently step in. That’s when we come in.