Focus and Endurance

The text below is not very exciting but should be fairly easy for you to understand. Also, the author tends to repeat the vocabulary a lot.

Focus and endurance: Long-term motivation for learning languages

What keeps you motivated to learn languages?

Thousands of tools and tricks and methods exist to learn languages on every platform, on- and off-line. All you have to do is use those tools a few hundred times, and you’ll be fluent. Why, then, doesn’t everyone know another language yet? The deciding factor is motivation. Most people lack something that will drive them back to those tools again and again, months and years after the initial shine has worn off.

Fluency will come when you have studied for a long time, which requires sustained motivation. Motivation requires focus, that is, the ability to decide to do this same activity when other activities also cry out for your attention. The deeper the motivation for learning the language, the longer you will stay focused. Motivation and focus also depend on endurance. Focusing a few times won’t suffice for learning a language, only a few thousand times. Different factors motivate successful language-learners. Love and curiosity trump economic reasons for learning a language because the focus runs deeper, though curiosity can sustain endurance longer.

The motivators

1. Love

When we desire in our heart to connect with someone, we can stay motivated to learn a language. The need to understand someone else deeply, and to be understood by them, can drive us for years to learn a language.

Love drives humans to do things in way that no other motivator can, and we see this in the area of languages. Like I said in my last post , the love can manifest itself as a desire to teach to another person’s heart an important message. One can also develop a deep love for another culture. A good friend of mine fell in love with Latin American culture , and so learned Spanish to a very deep degree. One can also fall in love with someone who does not speak your language. The strong desire to communicate with that one individual–and perhaps his or her friends and family–will motivate you for a long time.

Love drives us hard, but can end. If we break up with the object of our desire, or leave the area of our mission, our love may taper off. As love disappears, so may our language-love. I became fascinated with Welsh culture when I went to Wales at 15, so I studied some Welsh. After I was back in the US, my love of Welsh–and motivation to study Welsh–tapered off quickly. Love, nevertheless, motivates like no other force. If love detaches from a single object, such as a particular individual, to aim at a broader object, such as “the poor” or “humanity,” love can sustain itself longer.

2. Curiosity

Language reflects the human brain and culture. As I said elsewhere, language allows a human to move out of his or her mind and connect with another human. This uniquely human ability fascinates many. As sports display the beauty and strength and agility the human body is capable of, so language shows the flexibility and creativity of the human mind

Curiosity can drive us to all the different ways that language manifests human wisdom and ingenuity. This curiosity can manifest itself in a love of abstract grammar processes. This drives us to study linguistics and Universal Grammar . Also, curiosity can drive us to read poetry in various languages, just to see what the human mind can think of next. One might collect proverbs or untranslatable words from different languages. Like my young language lover friend , we might just end up collecting books and websites of all different sorts of languages and learning as much as we can of and about them. Polyglots tend to fall in this category.

For humans being, curiosity rivals love as a motivator. Curiosity can be a love of an abstract concept. A biologist does not just really want to know about biology; she loves biology. In the same way as love, curiosity can die when the object of our inquiry is no longer there. Because curiosity lies mostly within us, however, curiosity can motivate us with less fickleness.

Depth and endurance

Motivation requires depth and endurance. Scholars and psychologists have looked at the quality of “grit” recently and it relationship with successful learning, and these may be related. Love and curiosity offer greater depth, but curiosity probably offers more endurance. Economic motivation can offer endurance, but not necessarily depth. These areas can overlap and morph from one to another. Interest in a language from economic motivators can engender love for the other culture, or an overseas work assignment can lead to falling in love with someone from that culture. Curiosity in language can turn to economic motivation for continuing with that language. If you are stalled in learning your language, check out your depth and endurance for sticking to it.

What motivates you to learn your language? Where does your motivation come from? Did I leave any motivators out? Please write your motivators in the comments.

Read More Here…


Key Terms…
  • endurance ↔ resistência; persistência
  • tools ↔ ferramentas
  • tricks ↔ truques
  • lack ↔ faltam
  • shine ↔ brilho
  • worn off ↔ passado; desgastado
  • sustained motivation ↔ motivação sustentada
  • cry out for ↔ clamam por
  • deeper ↔ mais profunda
  • trump ↔ ultrapassam
  • runs deeper ↔ é mais profundo
  • drive us ↔ motivar-nos
  • break up with ↔ romper, terminar com
  • taper off ↔ diminuir, desaparecer
  • detaches from ↔ desprende
  • aim at ↔ visar
  • broader object ↔ objeto mais amplo
  • elsewhere ↔ em outro lugar
  • allows ↔ permite
  • uniquely ↔ singularmente, exclusivamente
  • capable ↔ capaz
  • collecting ↔ colecionar
  • rivals ↔ concorre
  • inquiry ↔ inquérito
  • fickleness ↔ inconstância
  • grit ↔ strength, determination
  • greater depth ↔ maior profundidade
  • overlap ↔ sobrepor
  • engender ↔ gerar
  • stalled ↔ estagnado
  • check out ↔ confira
  • sticking to it ↔ aderindo a ele


tricks truques
criar artifícios sutis para contornar as situações ↔create suitable tricks to get around the situations
usando artimanhas pra se sair bem… ↔using tricks to get away with…
pregar uma peça em… ↔play a trick on
golpe sujeira ↔dirty trick
Isso resolve o problema ↔That’ll do the trick.
He played a trick on his friend. ↔Ele pregou uma peça no amigo.
Do you think I’m an idiot that I would fall for such an old trick? ↔Você acha que eu sou idiota para cair num truque tão velho?
lack faltam
What he lacks is courage. ↔O que lhe falta é coragem.
The flowers died for lack of water. ↔As flores morreram por falta de água.
a carência de habitações adequadas ↔the lack of adequate housing
falta-lhe o aconchego daquele recanto com quatro mesas ↔it lacks the coziness of that nook with four tables
Por falta de provas ↔For lack of evidence.
worn off passado; desgastado
The effect of the injection will gradually wear off.
The silver plating on that cheap silverware will wear off.
A dor era muito grande uma vez que o efeito dos anestésicos havia passado. ↔The pain was very strong since the anesthetic had worn off.
runs deeper é mais profundo
Mas o problema é mais profundo que isto. ↔But the problem runs deeper than that.
Infelizmente, a questão da corrupção no setor público é mais profundo que isso. ↔Unfortunately, the issue of public corruption runs deeper than this.
break up with romper, terminar com
break – broke – broken
Tom is going to break up with Mary. ↔Tom vai terminar com Mary.
taper off diminuir, desaparecer
The snowfall is forecast to taper off Thursday night and Friday, Neitzel said.  
Então, por várias razões deste sucesso começa a desaparecer. ↔Then for various reasons this success begins to taper off.
detaches from desprende
Because the soul is not tainted by matter, it followed that when our body dies, our soul detaches from our body and returns to God.  
aim at visar
Take aim at the target. ↔Mira o alvo.
We are aiming at the pigeons. ↔Estamos mirando os pombos.
são mudanças que visam reforçar nossos negócios ↔they are changes that aim at reinforcing our business
collecting colecionar
He collects model cars. ↔Ele coleciona carrinhos em miniatura.
overlap sobrepor
apesar de tudo, creio que os pontos positivos se sobreposeram ↔despite everything, I believe the good points overlap
stalled estagnado
Stop stalling and do what I told you. ↔Pare de enrolar e vá fazer o que eu disse.
Isto significa que a tendência positiva dos últimos anos estagnou. ↔This means that the positive trend of the past years has stalled.
sticking to it aderindo a ele
You must stick to your promise. ↔Você deve manter sua promessa.
She will not stick to her word. ↔Ela não vai cumprir sua palavra.


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