In a world where people have the opportunity to travel cheaply or simply use the Internet to explore new cultures, learning at least one foreign language feels mandatory. However, the truth is that only a small percentage of people worldwide understand more than their mother tongue.
For example, 63% of adults in the EU say they know at least one foreign language, but only 31% say they know it well. The situation is not better in any other part of the world, so it’s always a good idea to explore the cause of this global phenomenon.
There are many reasons why people don’t study a foreign language, but one of the major problems comes in the form of language learning stereotypes and misunderstandings. In this post, we will analyze common misconceptions about learning a language. Let’s take a look!
Only younger students can become fluent
The first – and probably the most widespread – misconception is that only younger students can become fluent. The reason why most people believe it is obvious: Kids have a whole lot of memory space to fill, which makes them ideal for learning a language.
But this is a big mistake. Children are usually more productive than adults in language learning, but it doesn’t make grown-ups any less likely to become fluent speakers. All it takes is to learn diligently and pay attention to details.
Learning a foreign language interferes with the first language
Parents often nurture this stereotype because they want their kids to become masters of a mother tongue first. But is there really a limited storage capacity language-wise? Who says the human brain cannot learn two languages simultaneously?
You should not believe this misconception since children make perfect language students. The two languages will not oppose, but rather augment each other to form a logical unit. Besides that, don’t forget that bilingualism can make a child smarter.
Grammar is irrelevant
Another major misconception about learning a language is that you don’t need to concentrate on grammar in the early (or even middle) stages of the process. The simplest conclusion is that such an opinion is just plain wrong.
Grammar is like a glue that ties the whole language together. Knowing and using grammar rules is what makes the difference between Tarzan English and a regular version of the same language.
Learning a language takes forever
The fourth misconception on our list is hard to dispute because no one can claim to know any language to the fullest extent. Language is a living entity that evolves forever and no man can master it 100%.
But it’s not the reason to give up on your studies. Saying that learning a language takes forever is simply an excuse for lazy individuals who don’t want to invest a sufficient amount of time in studying. Don’t get us wrong – of course it’s difficult to master a foreign language, but that’s exactly what makes the new skill so precious.
You have to live where the language is spoken
You will often hear friends of colleagues claiming that you have to live where the language is spoken in order to learn it. While it can be considered an excellent learning method, it shouldn’t discourage you in any way.
Jake Gardner, an assignment help expert at the essay writing UK agency, says it all depends on a student’s will to learn: “If you really want to study a second language, you will find many other ways to do it besides traveling abroad.”
You must speak in order to learn a language
Language learning is often divided into four main categories – reading, listening, writing, and speaking. The ultimate goal is to learn how to speak a foreign language fluently, but it is not the way to learn a language. It is the opposite – you must learn a given language to be able to speak it.
Language studies demand formal education
How many times have you heard a story of a child learning languages from cartoons? We bet you know this story, but there are also lots of older learners who conquered a second language on their own.
If you can gain formal education, good for you! But if you don’t have the opportunity to learn a language in your school or college, rest assured there are many other ways of learning.
For instance, you can watch YouTube tutorials or participate in online seminars. Another popular option is to download a language learning app such as Duolingo and study on the go.
It takes a talented individual to master a second language
If you hear someone saying that it takes a talented individual to master a second language, bear in mind that this person is simply trying to discourage you. While there are talented persons who take easy language learning for granted, we assure you that everyone else can do the same thing. It will take some more time, but the result will be no different.
English speakers don’t need to learn other languages
English is certainly lingua franca of the 21st century, but it’s not an excuse for not studying other languages. You can never meet a foreign culture if you don’t speak a local language, but the problem has even bigger consequences. An egocentric approach can lead to gradual isolation of the English-speaking countries, which is a huge issue in the world where globalization brings together almost every country and culture.
Learning a foreign language is never an easy task, but it definitely isn’t impossible. On the contrary, all it takes is to concentrate, make a good plan of work, and forget all those language learning stereotypes you’ve heard a thousand times.
In this article, we showed you the most common misconceptions about learning a language. Remember our tips and make sure to find your own studying rhythm – it will help you to master a foreign language sooner than you expect!
Author bio: Michael Gorman is an essay writer at the dissertation service who focuses on top resume reviews. He is also a passionate language learner who speaks French, Spanish, and Italian. Besides that, Michael is the father of two kids and an amateur long-distance runner.