“I’ve been studying Bahasa Indonesia for three years, yet I sound like I just arrived yesterday.”
“John has only lived in Jakarta for five weeks and his Bahasa Indonesia already sounds better than mine.”
“I feel like a fool with my limited vocabulary.”
“My accent is horrible.”
“I’d like to improve my Bahasa Indonesia but I’m just too embarrassed to actually speak.
I don’t want to expose how terrible I am.”
If this sounds like you, then you already know that low confidence has an extremely negative impact on your language learning.
We can offer you a many “language learning tips,” but, if you lack self-confidence, none of them will do you much good.
Confidence is the first and most important key to effective language acquisition. Here at Language Studies Indonesia, we’ve encountered countless students who have struggled for years with their language learning, never admitting to themselves that their “low confidence” was holding them back. But, in every case, when those students finally took steps to address their self-esteem issues, their language acquisition became much, much more rapid!
If you want to save yourself hundreds of hours of study time, be sure to address your confidence issues first, before you start your language lessons.
A common indicator that low confidence is holding back your language learning is that you feel like language learning is a 'waste of time'.
What’s going on here? Deep down, you know that your low confidence is holding you back. You also know that, without self-confidence, you’re not actually going to use the language in real-life situations. Therefore, you know in advance that your language skills won’t develop, so studying the language is a waste of time.
We call this behavior “SELF-SABOTAGE” or “SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.” You fear failure, so you set yourself up to fail from the get-go. This way, your failures won't come as any surprise, and you can use these continued failures as excuses to avoid putting yourself out there the next time around.
What is the primary cause of low confidence in most language learners?
CONSTANTLY COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER LANGUAGE LEARNERS!
There’s never been a better time to learn a language. Technology has made it possible to connect with people all over the world. And connecting with other language learners can be incredibly inspiring.
But sometimes, seeing other language learners succeed can make you wonder about your own ability. If you find yourself asking, “Am I not good enough?” or “Am I not smart enough?” or “Am I not talented enough?”, then you’re clearly struggling with your confidence.
Comparing yourself to other learners can discourage you rather than inspire you. You may begin avoiding other language learners – and without that inspiration, it’s difficult to stay motivated.
Rather than reaching out to other language learners, you may decide to study on your own. This way, you won’t have to worry about making embarrassing mistakes in front of other people.
Of course, personal study is useful; language books and podcasts can be a great tool to improve your skills. But if you’re only using these tools, and hiding away from the real world, then you’re doing huge damage to your language learning potential.
STOP GAUGING YOUR SUCCESS ON OTHERS.
We all have diverse backgrounds. Our struggles in learning Bahasa Indonesia are NOT the same.
First, we all come from different language families. If your mother tongue is ‘Mandarin,’ then you’ll obviously face difficulties which are very different from someone whose mother tongue is ‘German.’ And if you speak a Slavic language, you’ll obviously face very different challenges than someone who speaks a Latin language.
Second, some learners are already fluent in two or three languages before ever studying Bahasa Indonesia, while others speak only one language (their native language) prior to taking up the Indonesian language. Such differences in our ‘experience,’ will have an effect on our learning.
And finally, we all have unique learning styles. Some of us are visual learners who pick up language through reading and writing, while some of us learn best through speaking and listening.
To avoid discouragement, it is essential that you learn to gauge your success on YOUR OWN achievements – on YOUR OWN improvement.
NEVER WASTE TIME COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS!!!
You’ll always be able to find language learners who appear to be more successful than yourself . . . but what’s the point? Focusing on the successes of others (rather than focusing on your own progress) is highly counterproductive as it inevitably leads to a loss of confidence.
There are no universal standards when it comes to the speed or ease with which we each learn a new language. We come from different language backgrounds; we have different levels of experience with foreign languages, and we have different learning styles.
But there is one universal principle of language learning that applies to all of us :
CONFIDENCE is the first and most important key to effective language acquisition . . .
And the best way to build your CONFIDENCE is to focus on your own progress and NOT on the progress of others.
Rather than looking at what others have achieved, look only at what you yourself have achieved and celebrate your own personal accomplishments. If you address your confidence issues before you start your language lessons, you’ll save yourself hundreds of hours of study time!
Selamat belajar, happy studying!