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How to learn a language
How to learn a language

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4 Your ‘future language self’

Now that you have an idea of what a portrait of a future language self might look like, it’s time to do your own. In order to do this, you are going to do a visualisation exercise.

Activity 1 Visualising the future

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

Find a nice, quiet place where you are not going to be disturbed or interrupted for ten to fifteen minutes, and get ready to do the visualisation exercise below. It’s a good idea to sit comfortably in a quiet place, take a few deep breaths to relax yourself, and close your eyes as you listen to the visualisation audio (adapted from Hadfield and Dörnyei, 2013, pp. 35–7). You might be rather sceptical about this sort of exercise, but do give it a try.

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How did you find that? Did you manage to imagine yourself in the future speaking the language you are learning? Now spend some time writing up how you imagine your future language self, in the same sort of format as I provided for myself earlier. It is important that you do this now, as you will need to look back at your description of your future language self in the next activities. You will also find that this written record of how you imagine your future language self is a useful document to return to in the future, especially at times when you are struggling with your motivation.

Laura says:

I wish I had done this activity when I first started studying languages! I think doing something like this and (more importantly) having a written record of it that I could look back on when I was feeling demotivated would have been beneficial to me. I would also suggest that you repeat this exercise at regular intervals as you progress in your language learning, particularly when you start feeling demotivated.