Why is Serbian language so hard to learn?

Or is it?

In this post, we will give you some advice about learning Serbian. Nevertheless, what we are going to tell you can actually be applied to learning any language. The thing we hear a lot when teaching Serbian is complaining about the difficulty of the language. To change this mindset, read our post below.

Different kinds of complexity in languages

All human beings have a necessity to express similar things in their lifetime. Different languages imply different ways of expressing these things. This later brings us to the reason why every language is different and complex in its own way.

If we talk about language learners, depending on their starting point (their mother tongue or other languages they speak), learning these new ways can be easier or more difficult. Of course, sometimes you can clearly see a redundant complexity in a certain aspect of a language you are studying. That also happens. The Serbian language definitely has more rules and changes regarding nouns, adjectives and pronouns if you compare it to other European languages which do not use declinations. On the other side, it has much fewer tenses that other European languages, especially romance ones and does not use articles.

Let’s look at this example:

Last year I went to Prague. 

In Serbian: Prošle godine sam išla u Prag.

We will only focus on a part of “last year”. When you first learn how to say this in Serbian, you see that it is: prošla godina. But then you see it in a sentence like the one above and you get confused and irritated with the case, wishing you never started learning Serbian in the first place or wondering why Serbians like changing stuff when they speak.

Avoid the negative

 Stop your negative patterns

Stop your negative patterns

In our opinion, you should avoid getting frustrated about the complexity of a language or a certain aspect of a language you’re studying. It’s a waste of time and can demotivate you as a learner. There are people that are interested in the why (as in why does this change this way) and maybe it helps them learn, understand and memorise. However, if you are not one of those people, the best thing you can do is to just accept the differences. Search for a bunch of examples, make your own, do anything that would make a thing which seems weird in the beginning become a part of your normality and sound good for you.

The ultimate proof for this is English. Nowadays it is mostly seen as a fairly simple language to learn (comparing it to other languages), but it is only because it can be heard everywhere and has a lot of impact through the media. If you compare spelling in English to spelling in Serbian, English would seem extremely difficult. Also, note that languages cannot compete in their overall complexity. One thing is expressed in a simpler way in one language, but the next thing will be more complex, for sure.

A different approach

 You have two choices: make progress or make excuses.

You have two choices: make progress or make excuses.

Instead of focusing on the complexity and comparing, ask yourself:

  • How much time per day do I spend studying or interacting in Serbian (or any other language you are learning)?
  • If you are enrolled in a language course, do you think it is enough to spend a couple of hours per week listening (mostly passively) about the language in the classroom?
  • Are you doing your homework?
  • Have you sent all the writings to your teacher?
  • Overall, are you using all the opportunities you have to actually get out there and practice the language?
  • Did you make it a part of your life?

Answers to these questions will give you an image of how much work you actually put in your language learning and practice. Just paying for the course is not enough. That can be a first step forward on your learning path, but everything else must come from you and your own effort.

A recipe for success

 Slow progress is better than no progress.

Slow progress is better than no progress.

Most language experts agree that when learning a language you need to work constantly, every day if it is possible. If 15 minutes per day is all you have, that is great. This amount of time will not represent a burden in your daily schedule. But you must be constant. That is how you get in touch with the language every day and make it a part of your routine.

Moreover, you need to take it bit by bit. To really learn a language you need to go slow, dedicate a lot of time to reviewing what you already know and only then introduce some new things. Most of the people are not ready for this pace and always want to experience some new content. That is also fine. You can practice what you already know through different kinds of content, but try not to introduce a lot of new topics before making sure you have good control of the previous ones.

Another tip would be to interact with people, which is never boring. This is also the only way to truly learn how to communicate and overcome your fears (better said, embrace them). Make speeches or writings every now and then try to perfect them. You will most definitely see the results after a certain period.

Our message to you

After reading this post, we would like you to take your learning path into your own hands. Find your motivation and language activities you like doing. Use the people and the resources you have at your hand. It might be difficult in the beginning, but after a while, you will definitely see some progress. Do not waste time focusing on the difficulty of the language or complaining about your teachers. Remember: the only responsible one for your language learning is you. No matter how slow your language learning is going, the most important thing is that you are making progress. Congrats!

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