My Big Language Mistake

Me Lost in Japan!
Lost in Japan in 2016!

The story in the Podcast recaps my experience learning Japanese, so hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes, and perhaps relate to what I’ve been through.

10 years ago I decided to learn Japanese. It was my first foreign language and I was super excited.

I was young and had no idea what I was doing but I jumped right in and fell in love with languages. I spent 3 years where I studied every day. I practised the characters over and over again and studied some new grammar every day. 

I eventually reached the point where I could read a lot of Japanese texts (or at least get the main idea of the topic) and I felt really confident in my ability.

Then I went to Japan.

I was so wrong! I entered the airport and when the border police checked my passport I don’t know what came out of my mouth but it definitely wasn’t Japanese.

Then I realised – I had barely spoken any Japanese in 3 years!

I spent 1 month there and had sooo many embarrassing moments where I couldn’t communicate with anyone. I could read all the road signs and maps but couldn’t even ask a simple question. I felt so ashamed.

I learnt the lesson the hard way.

I basically wasted 3 years of learning and slowed down my progress a lot. If you want to be good at English, make sure you are practising different areas – most importantly, speaking!

Don’t make the mistake I did and waste your time by studying the wrong material for you.

Moral 1 – Don’t neglect to speak

Moral 2 – Don’t give up when you have a setback

If you have a trip coming up in an English speaking country, use it as motivation. But also don’t expect your skill to be the same as at home.

Also the material is often made for language learners. Many ‘real world’ people don’t care or understand the problems of language learning.

The expression of today is “Screw Up” – find out the meaning at the end of the podcast.

Click here to leave a question for the podcast. 

Click here to review the podcast on Apple Podcasts.

English in the Media

In this week’s English in the Media section, we’ll be looking at an extract from NASA’s YouTube channel. The video talks about going to Moon in 2024 to stay.

The trail we blazed 
– find a new path or method, begin something new, not tried before

  • He blazed a trail in English learning. His methods had never been done before.

Calling – destiny, strong urge to do something 

  • My calling is to help people 

Cut through – to do something difficult so that it no longer causes a problem for you 

  • I cut through my own ideas on what I thought was possible. (I overcame it)

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19 thoughts on “#6 The Biggest Mistake of Language Learning”

  1. Hello Michael 🙂
    ‘Even no one listens’ (?) Come on Michael. Your podcast is really good. I decided to listen all episodes from the first one. I don’t know how many time I need for that, but I’ll try. Thank you very much for your work. I think my listening skills are getting better thanks to you. Maybe my writing will get better too 🙂 and mayby I’ll finally start speaking ☺️
    p.s. Sorry if I make mistakes, I’m learning 😉
    Have a good day ☺️

    1. Hi Aneta. Thanks for the kind comment. Well during the times of Episode 6, pretty much no one was listening! A lot of people like you begin the daunting task of listening from episode 1 and somehow manage it. I hope it doesn’t get too dull for you!
      Appreciate your support!

  2. I am Deborah from the domocratic republic of the congo. I have been following your podcasts for a while and I really enjoy them, they are easy to understand and also fun with the tips you give that really help me. I feel intimidated when I have to speak English with people and I often feel that I don’t know anything and that I’m not learning enough. Thanks to your podcasts I feel I am overcoming my shyness. I was a fan of the American accent since I started following you, I have fallen in love with the British accent, especially yours. Thank you so much, you do a great job. I would love to learn from you.

    I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes 🥹.

    1. Hi Deborah. Thanks for following and commenting 🙂 It’s so cool that you found a new passion for the British accent from me! Your written English looks fantastic, so don’t worry. Keep it up, and I hope future episodes continue to help in some way. All the best!

  3. I realise that my previos message have some grammar errors. But, what should I say¿ I’m not familiar with writing skill yet

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Irina! I totally agree – it really amazes me. There’s a lot to be concerned about in the world these days, but I think there’s so much to be optimistic about and excited for when it comes to space travel. It’s an amazing time to be alive!
      And don’t worry! Your English is very understandable. Just a couple small changes to be made such as:
      After see –> After seeing
      Recently video –> Recent video
      we beleongs –> we belong

      1. I was offline for some weeks, but I have came back.
        I want to thank you for the proofreading and the podcasts, which have been very useful for me!

  4. I forgot, can you upload the full transcription with the podcast ? Is so important for understand the listening and learn writing. 🙂

  5. Alright Michael. I enjoy so much your podcast and learn more and more with them. Please, upload more podcast , I prefer podcast because I can hear them in my smartphone. Cheers!!! Debbie

    1. Thanks so much for listening and leaving a comment Debb! I really appreciate it. I’ll keep the podcasts coming every week 🙂
      That’s good feedback about the transcripts. As long as people are using them I’ll make them. I’ve just added the transcript for this episode in a link at the top.

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