With more than 6,000 languages in the world, it can be overwhelming to think of all the differences between each. Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more than one billion people. From assuming language learning is difficult to needing only formal classroom instruction for success, there are many common myths and misconceptions about learning a language. Here are some of them.
Myth: Language Learning is Difficult
It’s not going to be a cake walk but learning a language is not quite as difficult as you assume. Yes, it takes time and commitment but if you are willing to put the time in to listen, read, study and communicate, you can achieve anything. Many times, it’s the way in which language is taught that makes it difficult for some people. Learning the right way, such as through online instruction and immersion, makes the task that much easier.
Myth: You Must Have a Gift for Learning Languages
Not true. Anyone can learn if they want it badly enough. Yes, some people pick up language learning more quickly than others. Perhaps they are great listeners or have an ear for dialect. Maybe they put more work into it or perhaps they truly love language and that’s what spurs them on. But there is no inherent trait for learning languages easily. It’s attitude, not aptitude, that will determine how successful you are.
Myth: You Should Live Where the Language is Spoken
Some immigrants who have come to North America never learn beyond speaking halting English. However, there are people in other countries who speak flawless English. It may not be easy to learn a language in a country where it isn’t the primary language, but it can still be done. With so many vast options online, language content is available to anyone with a computer. Where you live should never be an obstacle.
Myth: Only Children Can Learn to Speak Another Language Well
You will hear this a lot, and it does have some basis in fact. After all, children are like sponges and tend to be molded more easily when taught language. They also have a high willingness to experiment and desire to communicate freely without fear of ridicule. As adults, we may have been out of school for many years by the time we decide to take on a new language and are a bit rusty on knowledge acquisition. However, recent brain research has shown that adults’ brains remain receptive to new things well into old age.
Myth: To Learn a Language You Need Formal Classroom Instruction
Classrooms may be a great place to congregate and meet others but they are very inefficient places to learn a language, especially with many students in one classroom. Languages cannot be taught, they must be learned. It’s tough to comprehend theoretical grammatical explanations, and drills and exercises become boring very fast.
A better option is to learn online, from a teacher who is a native student in their country. To see what we mean, check out BRIC Language Systems for a free trial.