I also speak 8 languages, which I’ve learnt by myself over the last 15 years.
Language learning, for me, is much easier now than it was when I first got started, and that’s because I’ve worked hard to learn certain key skills, such as improving my memory.
As with all important things in life, the big lessons I learnt came from the toughest experiences.
For me, it was when I was living in Japan.
There were many things I found difficult about learning Japanese, but above all, it was a vocabulary problem… learning so many new, unfamiliar words seemed impossible!
At first, I thought it was a study problem. I thought if I just worked harder, I would grow my vocabulary faster.
But of course, I was wrong...
I did study hard, but it never seemed to get any easier. I would learn more words, but then forget them again the next day.
Conversations with native speakers never seemed to get any easier either, as the words I thought I’d learnt would always slip my mind at the crucial moment.
After a couple of years of stagnation with Japanese, I was ready to give up, and I almost did, a few times.
My breakthrough came when I decided to take responsibility for my memory, and not simply “leave it to chance” any more...