7 Blunders To Avoid While Learning a Language by Self-Study

Learning a foreign language is like starting a new adventure in your life. And just like every other adventure, this one is also filled with ups and downs and it takes a long time before you reach the end of the journey.

You need to face so many obstacles down the road, particularly if you choose to study on your own. It’s a brave move that perfectly suits the lifestyle of young people. After all, who says you have to attend traditional classroom-type lessons?

However, you do have to prepare for a challenging and time-consuming process. In this article, I will present you seven blunders to avoid while learning a language by self-study.

Language Learning Mistakes You Must Keep an Eye On

Before I present you the list of the most common language learning mistakes, I want to remind you what makes the whole process so incredible and beneficial. Check out the biggest advantages of speaking a foreign language:

  • Better career opportunities: Employers love educated individuals who take initiative, while a lot of organizations search for polyglots to join their teams.
  • Improve academic performance: Multilingual students often perform better in other fields of study than their monolingual colleagues.
  • Memory boost: Practice makes perfect in all areas and your memory will certainly benefit from long-term exercises.
  • Encourage networking: Self-taught students tend to travel and meet different cultures. That way, you make friends with other people and grow the network of personal and professional connections.

Enough with the benefits – let’s see the mistakes that individual language learners make very frequently. After careful consideration, I selected the seven biggest blunders:

1. Impatience

Even the most talented students take at least a few months to master a foreign language, but the process usually lasts longer than that. Keep this in mind before starting the self-teaching process or else you might end up giving up very soon. Impatience is what halts a lot of talented students because they hope to master a language unreasonably quickly. Be patient and you will notice the knowledge building up at a steady pace.

2. Using dull resources to study

Self-teaching learners don’t have a tutor or a group of colleagues to support them, so the last thing they need is a bunch of dull learning resources. While textbooks represent a big segment of language studies, they are not the only resource you should use.

On the contrary, there are all sorts of inspirational courses, libraries, games, and videos to help you make it through the hard times a lot easier. My suggestion is to try Duolingo, a language learning app that adds interactive gamification elements to make studying entertaining.

My fellow colleagues at UK Careers Booster and Rushmyessay also recommend apps such as Hello Talk, Memrise, Busuu, or Babbel.

3. Fear of embarrassment

One of the biggest mistakes of every language learner is to be afraid of embarrassment. Okay, I know it sounds stupid when you try to speak a foreign language but fail to do it properly, but rest assured it’s just a small part of a large picture. Nobody makes it the first time, so there is nothing to be embarrassed about here.

4. Neglecting grammar

This is probably the most common and difficult issue if you are a self-taught learner. Grammar rules are often learned by rote but without a true understanding of the context. That’s why some students neglect it and concentrate on vocabulary instead. You shouldn’t make the same mistake because grammar represents a cornerstone that you use to support and strengthen your knowledge in the later stages of learning.

5. Avoid listening sessions

Audio materials are critical to the success of your studies. Don’t avoid listening sessions and don’t just pretend to listen to people speaking a foreign language while thinking of grammar or sentence structure. This is where you absolutely have to focus and embrace all those little details that make secondary languages so strange and unusual to your ears.

6. Stick to just one learning method

This mistake resembles the second item on my list. Jake Gardner, an ESL tutor at Collegessaywriter.com, says that self-taught students don’t have to be afraid of getting bored as long as they mix content and use various learning methods simultaneously: “Try to exercise all language elements at the same time (speaking, reading, writing, and listening) while using various learning techniques: textbooks, assignment writing, audio, video, apps, and so on.”

7. Trust the power of immersion too much

The best way to learn a language is by spending some time abroad. However, some learners believe this is enough to master a second language. Rest assured it’s not true since you still have to work very hard to round up the story by studying on your own.


Language learning is both highly demanding and extremely rewarding. But in order to become a successful self-taught student, you have to understand common issues your peers have often been facing before you. I described seven blunders to avoid while learning a language by self-study. Keep them in mind and your new student life will be much easier!


Scott Mathews is a full-time blogger at Careers Booster and a part-time contributor at assignment help and Resumes Planet. He is interested mostly in topics like self-development, lifestyle, and online learning. Scott speaks three foreign languages and loves travelling, discovering new people, learning about their customs, and cultures.

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