In my 20 years as a teacher, I have met precisely TWO people who had an exceptional language-learning ability (both teenage girls, strangely enough) and a grand total of ZERO people who were not capable of learning a foreign language at all.
However, and most unfortunately, I would have to admit that MANY of the people I have taught or otherwise worked with have failed to achieve their language-learning goals. Why? Simple: the greatest danger to language-learning success is simply that you will stop trying! Sadly, most people do, sooner or later.
The Tenth Secret of Learning Italian
Secret no. 10 is MOTIVATION! Having it, and keeping it.
Keeping your motivation high means:
– being realistic in your goals (take your time, don’t expect too much)
– get used to failure (you will NEVER know Italian as well as you know your own native language)
– measure progress by what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do
– don’t beat yourself up. Trust me, there’s nothing different about your brain. People who have succeeded at doing what you are trying to do have simply being doing it longer and/or have had better opportunities.
Look at someone who has successfully learned a language. There’s always an OBVIOUS reason why they succeeded where you seem to be failing (“But you were in a Chinese jail for 20 years. Of COURSE you speak fluent Chinese!”). Keep that in mind – there are (virtually) no miracles in language-learning, just people who get there in the end if they have good reasons to keep trying!
Read more: Bonus Secret no. 11!