6 BASIC ERRORS IN LEARNING FOREIGN LANGUAGES
I think that each of us has heard dozens of stories about how someone taught and learned a foreign language and english to hindi, but never learned it. Why? In fact, there are not so many possible reasons, and I tried to list all of them in this note.
The purpose of the training is not clearly defined.
If we do not know where we want to go, then we will certainly end up where we do not want to be. If you have not clearly formulated what exactly you expect from the classes, then you will definitely be dissatisfied with the result. Clearly formulated goals do not include “to speak”, “pull up grammar”, “just like that, for yourself”. First, it’s all too vague. Secondly, the time that you are willing to spend to achieve the goal is not indicated.
The goal should be formulated, for example, like this: “In 2 months I’m going on vacation, and I need to be able to communicate with employees of the airport, hotel and cafe.” “A week later I’m doing a presentation at a meeting, I need to correctly compose slides, write a speech and rehearse it.” “I get confused with modal verbs and articles. In the next month, I want to deal with these grammar topics.
Be sure to formulate goals in the first lesson with the teacher, and be sure to write them down, otherwise you will forget. Did you reach your goal within the allotted time? So it’s all right. Didn’t reach? Analyze why, and look for new methods and approaches.
Irregularity of classes.
One of the important conditions for learning a foreign language is the regularity of classes.
It is much more productive to study the language for 15-20 minutes every daythan 2-3 hours once a week. Fit language learning into your daily schedule. Decide for yourself what you will do, say, 20 minutes before breakfast, or half an hour before bed. After 2-3 weeks, such activities will become your habit. And learning a foreign language is, you see, a very good habit!
Unwillingness to work independently.
Classes for 2 hours 2 times a week with a teacher is, of course, good. But catastrophically little. If you do not learn the language, including on your own, then the effect of the lessons will be insignificant. It is necessary not only to do your homework (mandatory!), but also to “immerse” in the language as much as possible. Here I do not mean learning a foreign language by immersion, but constant contact with the language in everyday life. Read books and magazines, watch movies, listen to podcasts, chat in language clubs, chat rooms and forums, “soak” the language, and very soon you will see the result.
Misconceptions about one’s abilities.
Phrases like “I’m not good at languages” or “I’m too old to learn a language” are said very often. But they are completely useless!
Yes, there are people who find new languages very easy. But there are no people incapable of learning foreign languages! Bilingualism (or even trilingualism) is quite common in many countries. For example, most people in Luxembourg are fluent in English, French and German. Many Swedes speak English fluently. In many African countries, one of the local dialects is spoken at home and on the street, and French is used in education and administrative areas. In Paraguay, most of the population speaks both the official language of the country, Spanish, and the national language, Guarani. There are thousands of similar examples, but I think the main idea is obvious: anyone can learn a foreign language.
Yes, as we age, it becomes more difficult for us to remember new information. But “with age” is, in our time, a relative criterion. People are now actively living and working in their 60s and 70s. So why not learn a new language at this age? It may take longer at 60+ than at 20+, but who said you have to rush?
Perfectionism and fear of making mistakes.
A very serious problem indeed. Mistakes in learning a foreign language are inevitable. To start speaking the language means to start speaking with mistakes. And, finally, it is better to speak the language, albeit with errors, than to be eloquently silent!
You need to start speaking the language as soon as you start learning it, right from the first lesson. The more you talk, the faster you will learn to do it well. Do not be afraid! Most of the people you need to talk to, honestly, don’t care about your accent, mixed up articles and misused tenses, if all this does not interfere with understanding the meaning of what was said.
Reluctance to try new approaches.
Some people do grammar tests most of the time. Some use apps like Busuu or Duolingo. Someone goes to a conversation club. And all this is wonderful, but the fact is that there is no place for an “either-or” approach, for example, or exercises, or communication in a club. Here it should be rather “and-and”, or rather “and-and-and-and …”. And tests, and applications, and conversation clubs, and audio books, and films, and everything that you can think of. Try new things, experiment, find what suits you best!
Good luck with learning new languages!