1. Not listening enough
There’s a school of linguistics that believes language learning begins with a "silent period”。 Just as babies learn to produce language by hearing and parroting sounds， language learners need to practise listening in order to learn. This can reinforce learned vocabulary and structures， and help learners see patterns in language.
Listening is the communicative skill we use most in daily life， yet it can be difficult to practise unless you live in a foreign country or attend immersive language classes. The solution？ Find music， podcasts， TV shows and movies in the target language， and listen， listen， listen， as often as possible.
2. Lack of curiosity
In language learning， attitude can be a key factor in how a student progresses.
Linguists studied attitude in language learning in the 1970s in Quebec， Canada， when tension was high between Anglo- and Francophones. The study found that Anglophones holding prejudices against French Canadians often did poorly in French language learning， even after studying French for years as a mandatory school subject.
On the other hand， a learner who is keen about the target culture will be more successful in their language studies. The culturally curious students will be more receptive to the language and more open to forming relationships with native speakers.
3. Rigid thinking
Linguists have found that students with a low tolerance of ambiguity tend to struggle with language learning.
Language learning involves a lot of uncertainty – students will encounter new vocabulary daily， and for each grammar rule there will be a dialectic exception or irregular verb. Until native-like fluency is achieved， there will always be some level of ambiguity.
The type of learner who sees a new word and reaches for the dictionary instead of guessing the meaning from the context may feel stressed and disoriented in an immersion class. Ultimately， they might quit their language studies out of sheer frustration. It’s a difficult mindset to break， but small exercises can help. Find a song or text in the target language and practice figuring out the gist， even if a few words are unknown.