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5 Ways to Profit from Your Mistakes While Learning Hebrew

5 Ways to Profit from Your Mistakes While Learning Hebrew

The fear of making mistakes is one of the biggest roadblocks to language learning. Out of all the discomforts that come with learning a foreign language nothing looms quite as daunting in the mind of a beginner.

It’s almost as if we’re hardwired to want perfection when we speak. However the reality is that mistakes are unavoidable. I’d even go so far as to say that they’re an integral part of the learning process.

But still we try are hardest to fight them, thinking that perhaps the key to learning rests in the flashiest method or the LiveFluent Hebrew course or HebrewPod101.

Think of small children who are just starting to learn English. They mispronounce words. They use words incorrectly, and their grammar is usually pretty lousy. Sometimes they even make up their own words. Research and academic opinion show that this is all a natural part of the process. If making mistakes made up such a huge part of learning our native language, why do you expect it to be any different when learning a foreign one?

In this post we’ll talk about five ways you profit from your mistakes while learning Hebrew. Because in the end mistakes shouldn’t be feared they should be welcomed. The more you make the faster you will learn.

1) Be humble

There’s no room for pride when you’re learning Hebrew. If you’re a beginner, native speakers will likely be very accommodating with your mistakes and slower reaction times during conversations. There’s no reason to be embarrassed. Remember that it’s a sign of respect to learn another person’s language. No one expects you to speak flawlessly right from the start. No on else with hold your mistakes against you, so make sure you don’t either.

2) Don’t play the comparison game

Whether it’s a native speaker or another Hebrew learner don’t make the mistake of comparing your progress to someone else’s. No doubt at the beginning there will be times when it feels like everyone is speaking perfect Hebrew while you’re left you in the dust.

Try not to get discouraged. It’s your race to run not theirs. Everyone has their story, their own reason and method for learning Hebrew. Comparing your progress to someone else’s is like well…comparing apples and oranges.

It’s easy to freak out when someone speaks perfectly while you’re struggling to make the most basic sentences. But don’t forget that while you can easily see someone else’s success, you’re much less likely to see the hard work that got them their. Every Hebrew speaker you meet had to learn the language at some point. Whether it was as a child or an adult they too had to wade through their mistakes before they could speak fluently.

Get feedback on your mistakes

3) Get feedback on your mistakes

Anytime you write or speak Hebrew try to get feedback from someone who speaks the language. I cannot stress this enough. You can make mistakes day and night, but if you’re never corrected they do you no good. You can’t learn from a mistake if you don’t know that it’s a mistake. Many in the language learning community hold that feedback is an integral part of the language acquisition process.

Encourage friends and language partners to correct your Hebrew anytime all the time. Worst case scenario you’ll make a mistake 100 times and get corrected 100 times. It might seem petty or frustrating, but it’s all worth it the 101st time when you finally remember your mistake and start speaking correctly.

Some mistakes will be easy to amend and you’ll adjust your Hebrew right away. Others might take awhile. Speaking a foreign language is a lot like juggling. There are a lot of moving pieces you have to keep in place. Whether it’s pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary getting feedback on your effort will help refine your Hebrew until you feel comfortable in the language.

Listen to your brain

4) Listen to your brain

After all the practice and feedback, eventually you’ll start to notice that certain Hebrew words come to mind quicker than you have the chance to think about them. Instead of having to scan your brain for the latest “Hebrew word file”, you sort of instinctively come up with a word for a given sentence.

Don’t hesitate to blurt this word out. Sometimes it will be completely wrong. Other times it will be dead on. When words start coming to mind instinctively that means your brain is starting to get more and more used to using Hebrew. The incorrect words (I like to call them brain farts), are sort of like growing pains. You’ll have them for a little while but over time you’ll see them less and less until all of your instinctual words are correct (this is essentially fluency).

So don’t let the fear of making a mistake short circuit your brain’s natural learning process. Go with whatever word your brain gives you!

5) Never take the easy way out

If there are two ways to say what you want to say in Hebrew, one you know and are comfortable with, and the other you’re not sure off….use the one you’re least comfortable with. Purposely choose subjects and sentence constructions that are difficult for you. Don’t get complacent and fall into the trap of using the same phrase over and over again, or having the same type of conversation with a language partner.

You always want to push the boundaries. Think of it as lifting weights. If you only ever lift 20 lbs for 20 reps, you’re not likely to get stronger after a certain point. Eventually you have to increase the weight. When you do it’ll burn and it won’t be comfortable, but overtime your body will adapt and you will become stronger.

It’s the same with languages. Except in this case your brain is the muscle and the weights are the difficulty of the language.

6) Enjoy the language for its own sake

Small children not only make a ton of mistakes when they learn to speak, they also have a ton of fun. To them life and language are both one giant mysterious adventure. They aren’t worried about making progress, impressing people, or speaking perfectly.

Take a note from their playbook. Enjoy Hebrew as you learn it. Let your focus be on the beauty and magic of the language. Savor the times you get to use it. If you loosen up and enjoy the ride you will learn much faster.

Final thoughts

Mistakes are a powerful and indispensable part of learning a language. I hope this post inspired you to stop being afraid of them and start embracing them. This subtle change in outlook could mean the world to your Hebrew learning!

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