Learning CW

Learning CW (Morse code) is hard.
On the face of it, it shouldn't be. It's not a language where you have to learn hundreds or thousands of words, and understand its grammar.
What I mean is not that it's hard to learn the code itself - that's not too hard. All you have to do is learn the 45 or so combinations for A-Z, 0-9, and some punctuation, and that's all there is.

I've learnt (to some degree or less) a few languages - I even think I have a bit of an aptitude for it.
I start off learning the basic verbs, and conjugations, and then I start reading it. I watch English films, with the subtitles for that language on. It's an enjoyable way to learn.

I find it's easiest to read languages. Then the next easiest is to hear them. Then it's speaking them. And the hardest thing is writing them.

But with Morse, it's the opposite. I can send Morse nice and quickly, without too many errors. It's the receiving it (copying it) that I find really difficult.

I know what all the characters are, but when they arrive at my ears, in a non-stop stream, converting from sound to a letter just doesn't happen quickly enough, and by the time I've understood the first character, 2 others have gone by.
I don't have any problem with the speed the characters are sent at - that can be nice and fast. It's that I need "thinking time" between the characters.
Take this piece of 20 words-per-minute Morse. Comes at you pretty fast, and incessant. Miss one character, and you'll miss a couple more while you're deciding that you missed the first one.
Now, take the same piece, but increase the gaps between the letters. Gives you room to breathe, doesn't it?

But yet, there are people who can copy Morse, in their head (without needing to write it down), at 30, 40, even 50 WPM. Even using a straight key. So it's some limitation of mine. I just need to keep practicing.

If you want to listen to real Morse, you can try listening on 80, 40, 30, or 20 metres. (Drag the yellow marker around if there's nothing on the linked frequency)
Or if you want to practice receiving Morse, check out LCWO (Learn CW Online)