The most common misconceptions about language learning
I'm too old to learn a language.
My oldest student is 72 years old and, yes, he’s making progress! As long as you are motived and apply yourself, you can learn languages at any age.
I’m not good at languages.
Chances are you've only ever practised reading and writing but haven’t done any actual listening and speaking. Would you say you’re a bad driver if your car only had two wheels?
Learning a language is going to take too much time.
Anything worth doing takes time. And what exactly do you mean by too much? When you enjoy the process and see your progress, you do make the time for your learning.
Learning a language is too hard.
If you bring that mindset to it, it will be. However, if you use your interests and hobbies to learn it, not only will the learning be easier, but it will also be fun!
I don't know grammar therefore I can't speak.
You do need grammar to learn a language, but you only need to know the key concepts (subject/object/direct/indirect) and identifiers (article/noun/adjective/adverb/pronoun) in order to speak.
I need to be in the country to learn the language.
Not since the invention of the Internet! Language learning starts with creating the linguistic immersion from wherever you are. With the Internet, you have a plethora of resources at your disposal, not to mention podcasts, apps, conversation groups, etc.
Language learning is vocabulary learning.
No, it isn’t! Learning list of words is not only mind-numbingly boring but it’s also a complete waste of time. You learn new words when they are attached to a context, i.e. when they are used in sentences you practise, read, hear, or write.
I need to speak perfectly.
You absolutely don’t! Language learning is about communication, not perfection. You learn as you speak therefore aiming for perfection is a contradiction in terms.
I'm going to sound ridiculous.
No, you’re not! You’re going to sound like someone making the effort to learn a language, which native speakers always appreciate.
I need to be ready and to know what to say in every single potential context.
Again, no! Learning a language is not a theoretical process but an entirely practical one. You learn as you speak therefore your mistakes help you learn. And isn’t that the best piece of news?
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