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Language Frustrations

Language Frustrations

The 10 Most Frustrating Things About Learning Spanish

Before reading this please find yourself a salt shaker, and take a pinch.

We are not saying that these struggles are exclusive to the Spanish language, nor that these should keep you from learning it. We at The Foreign Language Collective try to be there for you in your language learning process, and that means we also share your frustrations.

I love Spanish but learning it isn’t always a walk in the park. Here are some of the biggest frustrations most people have to deal with when learning Spanish.

1. So many verb tenses

Seriously, why do you need them all?

confused math GIF by CBC

2. Speaking of one – el subjuntivo.

Seriously, is there anything worse than learning something that doesn’t exist in your native language?

Or at least something that isn’t used in the same way?

And it’s not just there in the present tense – it’s there in the past, and it’s there in the future.

frustrated denzel washington GIF

3. Gendered words

Another great argument for moving towards

Why do tables, socks, and refrigerators even need genders anyway?

4. Native speakers speak so fast

Like, slow down! Is there somewhere you need to be?

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5. There are so many accents

And while a one on one conversation will probably be okay, chances are as soon as two native speakers from another country start speaking to each other there are going to be some words you never heard before (or not in that context)

confused titus andromedon GIF by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

6. The fact that words can mean something completely different in another country

And it is always something bad or dirty.

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Words like paja, pajerocoger, concha, pillatortillera may seem very harmless in certain countries, but be careful when using them in more international speaking Spanish crowds.

Speaking of dirty things

7. You can now understand reggeaton, and it’s not as romantic as people think

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8. The fact that everybody is learning it these days, so when you tell people you speak it native speakers expect you are a beginner

No me subestimen por ser gringa.

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9. .. but people who don’t speak it will start saying random words like “Despacito”, “Tequila” and “Caramba”

please stop bbc three GIF by BBC

10. But despite all of the frustrations, you keep coming back to it

Like the forbidden love shown in all the novelas, you just can’t stay away from each other.

Te Amo Gracias GIF


What frustrations would you add to this list? 

Language Frustrations

The 10 Most Frustrating Things About Learning French

Before reading this please find yourself a salt shaker, and take a pinch.

We are not saying that these struggles are exclusive to the French language, nor that these should keep you from learning it. We at The Foreign Language Collective try to be there for you in your language learning process, and that means we also share your frustrations.

1. The amount of irregular verbs

I mean seriously, what’s the point in having grammar rules for all the verbs if every verb is an exception to that rule?

confused good luck charlie GIF

2. You don’t say the ‘s’ at the end of the word

As a student of Spanish as well, I find this very hard. In Spanish you pronounce every letter and syllable, in French, no…

So ils and il sound exactly the same, not confusing at all!

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor where is it gif

3. The subjunctive

Need I say anymore?

girl crying GIF

4. Past historic

You have a tense that’s only used in books? Why?

When you think you’ve finally mastered all the tenses, and you pick up a book to practise your reading, and you can’t understand a thing. What’s happening? Je fus / nous donnâmes Ahhh!!!

jennifer lopez selena movie GIF

5. Masculine and feminine words

A table (une table) is feminine, and so is a chair, (une chaise) but an armchair (un fauteuil) is masculine. How does that make sense? How can you remember which ones are feminine and which ones are masculine?

sleeping beauty disney GIF

6. La liason

La liason is when you stick two words together when your speaking. For instance: ils ont = ilzont. Not to be confused with ils sont. It normally happens when the first word ends in an ‘s’ and the second one begins with a vowel. Suffice to say pronunciation isn’t my strong point!

7. You don’t say the end of the word at all

Don’t say the s, use the liason and oh, did I forget to mention, don’t bother with the end of that word, it’s not important. I sometimes wonder how the French understand each other!

why GIF

8. Because of that every word sounds completely different to the way it’s written

Due to the lovely pronunciation (which French does sound lovely), as a learner of French, spelling can become a nightmare. When your French friend teaches you a new word and you know how to say it but no idea how to spell it. The words: toi, trois and toit (you, three and roof) are all pronounced exactly the same way.

over it no GIF by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

9. If that wasn’t enough you have Verlan, a type of slang where all the words are backwards!

I struggle enough speaking French normally but then there’s a whole range of slang where the words are backwards. Bonjour becomes jourbon, bizarre is zarbi. So, once you learn to speak forwards, you have to learn to speak backwards.

10. Speaking

French is a beautiful language, and when spoken very well (by a native) it sounds lovely. As a learner of this language, it can be difficult to keep motivated when you say something, and French speakers look at you like you’re strangling a cat and destroying their language, but at the end of the day it’s worth it!

And if you don’t make mistakes, you’ll never learn!

chris colfer glee GIF

What other frustrations could you add to this list?

This guest post was written by Abigail Nobes

Language Frustrations, Multilingual Things

The 7 Stages of Learning A Language On Duolingo

Duolingo has become a synonym for learning a new language, and for a good reason. It’s fun, it’s free and their mascot is a bird that you can dress. However, every single time I start learning a new language on Duolingo I kind of go through the same 7 stages.

1. Excitement

“This is so easy and fun, and if I just do this 5 minutes a day I will be fluent in like 4 weeks”

golden globes it's so much fun GIF by Entertainment Tonight

2. Feeling of Accomplishment

Because don’t you low-key feel like a superhero when you are learning a new language?

3. Sadness

When you miss one day of your ongoing streak

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4. Confusion

Because none of the sentences you are learning make any sense.
My brain tells me it says “I am the cheese”, but the other part of my brain tells me that’s not a real sentence in any language.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor confused gif

5. Disappointment

You meet a native and realize they don’t say things like “I’m washing the holy potato”

are you serious barack obama GIF by Obama

6. More confusion

When you hit 100% fluency but you are still not fluent

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor now what idris elba gif

7. Acceptance

That Duolingo is just the start of your language learning journey

accept tv land GIF by Throwing Shade


All jokes aside, we love you Duolingo and we thank you for offering us free, playful tools to learn a new language <3 

What stages are still missing according to you?