Nothing can discourage you faster when you're learning a foreign language than feeling like you're not reaching your goals. If you're studying on your own, it can be hard to stay motivated. Help prevent this by setting realistic goals. What is realistic? If you study every day with a good program, you can expect to be able to handle simple conversations, request, giving and taking directions, etc. in about two to three months. If you are learning a language that is very different from your native language-- for instance an English speaker learning Cantonese--expect it to take at least 50% longer. Also, try not to tie your goals to a time frame if you're new to studying foreign languages. Until you've tried it for awhile, you won't really know how long it takes you to internalize things. Focus instead on mastery of the material.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|