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It’s time to restructure your thinking and help you realize how important bilingualism is. English is indeed beautiful but learning a second language can do no harm; in fact, it will help you more than you think, believe me or not. So, here are 13 myths about foreign language that you should forget.

1. Learning a language requires a special gift

You don’t have to possess any special talents to engage in language learning, whatever unreliable websites and magazines might tell you. You can do anything you set your mind on; thus, the only qualities you must possess are strong will, determination, and an arduous desire to learn. Is it true, however, that we possess inclinations for specific languages – some people might be more inclined to learn German while others might be more predisposed to learning Spanish. In any case, this doesn’t mean that you cannot learn any language that you want to.

If you fail at learning a language, that means you are not doing the right things or taking the right steps. Thus, make sure you change something in your life to get better results. You’ll eventually realize that talents make up for only 5% of your entire progress – the rest of 95% is hard-work.

2. The younger, the better. Old students cannot learn a new language

While everyone thinks that learning a new language is an easier task for children, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Language learning is, in fact, harder for youngsters because of their inabilities to interfere with a new language. For example, if you try to teach a 6-year old a new word in Spanish (given that the child speaks fluent English), they will not be able to make sense of the foreign word as quickly as an adult because they are blank states; they’ve never heard, seen, or dealt with a Spanish word before.

However, it is true that the younger you are, the better you deal with learning a new language; but that has nothing to do with age per se. It has to do with your ability to practice. The older we get, the more embarrassed we become; so, when we don’t know words, we choose not to speak the language, which can be a huge disadvantage for our language learning abilities. We have them yet we choose not to use them out of a fear of embarrassment. Pretty dumb, right?

3. You should acquire all skills at once to make the process complex

Baby steps is what language learning is. You will not be able to ace everything at once since day one, so do not try to. You cannot learn to spell, talk, and listen carefully at the same time; or, you could, yet it is much more effective not to. For instance, it is easier for you to learn how to spell Hola today and try to pronounce it tomorrow. Brain networks work in such a way that these connections are easier to make sequentially, not simultaneously.

The best method to start learning a new language is by applying the Mimic Method, which proposes the development of sound-learning before anything else, followed by a conversation enhancement process. The next thing you’ll do is read and then, write, once you are 100% confident in your basic conversation skills.

4. Pronunciation is learned at the end of the process

This is one of the most common myths I hear – “pronunciation is not that important, learn how to read and write first.” How is that even a thing? In a language, pronunciation is everything. If you are not able to pronounce words accordingly, you will not make yourself clear and thus, lack important communication skills.

Imagine this situation – you enter a Starbucks ready to order a coffee. You ask the server for something that sounds like a coffee; he/she does not understand what you mean. What will you do, repeat the word until he or she gets it or write it down? Of course you’ll go with the first option – it is real life we are talking about. You repeat the message until it can be normally conveyed, you do not write it down or try to play charades on the server. Thus, learn your pronunciation before anything else if you’re learning a language – that, for real life conversations and not in-doors simulations.

5. Grammar is the first most important skill to learn

Another common myth is that grammar is the most important thing to learn when acquiring new language skills. As you’ve read above, this cannot be further from the truth – that’s because, as I mentioned, grammar means nothing when basic conversation skills are inexistent. You can write things perfectly well but as long as you are not able to pronounce them accordingly, writing them down is useless. People don’t want to read when talking to you. They want to listen and engage.

6. Free apps and helpful books are the only tools you need

It’s true that there is an increasing number of available apps that can help you learn a new language; however, that doesn’t mean that they are enough (as neither are books). Apps and books alone cannot teach you conversational fluency and communication ability. Sure, they can help you polish those skills or build the necessary vocabulary, but they won’t do the job for you. You need to start practicing in order to succeed.

7. Following rules to the least detail

While it’s true that there are many rules that must be respected in any language, it is also important to recognize that this is not always the case. Sometimes, breaking the rules is what makes you authentic; it could also offer a funny, original vibe to the conversation. Thus, even though you should be respecting rules, try to be flexible about it instead of utterly strict; in the end, language learning is about having fun, so don’t ruin the process by playing dull!

8. People always want to learn new languages

You’d think learning a new language along people whose passions are similar to yours is easier; it may indeed, sometimes, but most of the times it is not. Instead of sticking with fluent English speakers while learning Spanish, try sticking with Hispanics or Europeans, for example. This way, you’ll be forced to learn the language faster because of a constant need to communicate your thoughts and feelings, which will speed up the learning process.

9. New technologies are enough

Not everything can be communicated via Google Translate, as great as this tool might be. First, the quality of these translation apps is not always the best, making it harder to express yourself correctly, sometimes risking being completely incomprehensible. Second, facial expressions and gestures are important when communicating as they can attach certain emotions to the conversation. Using none (and just pressing a button instead) makes us lose an important human connection.

10. Learning a new language takes too much of my time

This is another popular myth that can be easily debunked by engaging in a regular practice. For instance, if you set a goal of learning Mandarin in one year and divide this time into 365 days, considering that you practice at least 2 hours a day, you will have 730 hours of practice in total by the end of the year. This can be enough to at least acquire basic Mandarin conversation skills (and you’ll still have 22 hours every day to do anything else).

11. Learning a language is super-quick and easy

You must understand that language learning is not easy or quick. It takes time and effort, but it is not impossible. Do not trust ads that say you can “learn a new language in as little as one week,” they are complete BS. If you want something, go for it, but understand how long it will take you to get there.

12. Learning more than one language at a time is impossible

If you are even braver and decide to learn two languages at the same time, who says you cannot do it? It is completely possible. Do not listen to people who discourage you but stay true to yourself. With enough organizational skills and commitment, you can do anything.

13. Learning a new language is expensive

Yes, learning a new language can be expensive when you rely completely on your indoor tools, such as books, apps, PC programs, etc. If, however, you are brave enough to go out and experiment for yourself, you will see how quickly you will acquire new skills simply by communicating with people in the language you are trying to learn. It’s all about courage, in the end.

Conclusion

Many people think you need special gifts to be a successful language learner. There are plenty of other misconceptions flying around – that you must be under X years to reach fluency, or you need to focus on grammar. But it’s time to throw away myths and engage in a language learning process if you see it necessary! Make enough time, stay committed, and keep your head up. Good luck!

Author bio:

Tobias Foster is a journalist and editor at a popular assignment writing service with more than 5 years’ work experience. Philosophy, marketing, and business are his passions, while he also developed a wealth of knowledge in those fields. Tobias is a master of his craft.


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