This article is dedicated to St. Valentine’s Day.

love and language learning 2

Below are 5 key similarities that I found between dating and learning a language.

Similarity 1:

Similarity – сходство

Dating – встречаться с кем-то (глагол: date)

Unrealistic expectations – нереалистичные ожидания

Pollute – засорять

Language aptitude – языковые способности

It’s not meant to be – не судьба

Both dating and learning a language are often undermined by unrealistic expectations. You probably know how it happens in ‘romantic’ life. Hollywood clichés, films, glamorous magazines pollute our mind and create unrealistic expectations as to what the ‘real’ love is supposed to look like. Learning a language also has some unrealistic myths that can set you back. One of the biggest ‘myths’ is that of ‘language aptitude’. It goes like this: if you have language aptitude, you’ll be able to learn a language. It’ll come easily and naturally to you. If you don’t, then there is no point in even trying. It’s just not ‘meant to be’.

This myth is of course total nonsense. All of us have different language learning journeys and dynamics, and we learn languages differently.

Similarity 2:

Excited – на эмоциональном подьеме

Double– удваиваться

Triple – утраиваться

The novelty is wearing off – новизна проходит

Stagnation – застой

Go through this stage – проходить через этот этап

Set yourself new challenges – Поставить себе новые непростые задачи

People tend to be very excited both when they start learning a language and on the onset of a new relationship. Here’s how it happens with learning a language: you didn’t know anything at all, and then you are able to say a couple of phrase. Your skills sky-rocket and double, triple …all in a space of a couple of weeks. It is very exciting and gives you a big drive.  However, as time goes on, the novelty is wearing off, and people tend to feel less excited. This is when most learners hit a plateau and the feeling of stagnation. This effect is well-understood by researchers, and it’s called intermediate plateau.

What can you do with this feeling of stagnation?

– First of all, remember that this phrase it completely normal. All language learners go through a ‘plateau’ stage when they feel that there is no progress.  In fact, there is progress, but it is less noticeable and motivating.

– Another tip that can help you with intermediate plateau is breaking your routine and doing something new. For example, if you have never had lessons with a native speaker before, this is a good time to do so. Or you can revisit your goal, set yourself new challenges and raise a bar for yourself. For example, you may want to pass a job interview in an international company or pass an international exam, such as IELTS or TOEFL.

dating and language learningSimilarity 3:

Require time – требуют времени

Set aside some time – выделять время

Eventuate – заканчиваться чем-то

Worthwhile– стоящий

One more similarity between dating and language learning is that both require time. We are all busy, but we simply need to set aside some time for language learning and dating, otherwise none will eventuate in anything worthwhile. 

Similarity 4:

Annoying – раздражающий

Both language learning and dating can be annoying at times. 

Why can’t you just wash the dishes? Why can’t the language have easy and clear rules for articles?

Similarity 5:

Give a new perspective on life –дать возможность посмотреть на жизнь по-другому

The longer.. the more… – чем дольше, тем больше…

Express oneself– выражать себя

The final and probably the most important similarity is that both romantic relationship and language learning give you a new perspective on life. Specifically, they give you a chance to see the world from a new perspective – that of another person or another culture.

The longer you’ll be learning the language, the more you’ll be wondering why different languages have different ways of expressing themselves. For example, why is it that the answers to a popular question ‘how are you’ are so different in Russian and in English. Or why is it that there is no English equivalent of a Russian word ‘toska’. Or why is it that there is no direct equivalent of an English word ‘exciting’ in Russian.

dating and english learningHighs and lows – взлеты и падения

Feel frustrated – расстраиваться, испытывать чувство бессилия

Give up on it all– все бросить

Enrich – обогатить

Learning a language is not only an intellectual, it’s also an emotional process. You’ll have your highs and lows, sometimes you’ll feel frustrated and annoyed. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to just give up on it all. However, if you continue investing time and effort in language learning, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much it can enrich and improve your life.

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