There are many reasons why we should learn languages, which I will look at shortly, but there seems to be more excuses from people as to why they don’t even try to learn one.
The usual excuse is “I’m no good at languages”, or for a lot of us native English speakers the reason is, “Well everyone uses English now so what’s the point?”
That is a reasonable argument in terms of business, I suppose. International business does seem to have adopted English as it’s main means of communication; air traffic control for example around the world uses English.
Someone saying that they’re no good at languages is the same as people saying they are bad at maths. We all know how to learn a language because we already speak one. No one is bad at maths because I’m sure if your wages weren’t correct at the end of the week you’d soon be able to work that out!
I’ve never heard anyone come out and say they are rubbish at sex! But, they’ll quite openly admit their shortcomings in other areas. Is it because they are lazy or not interested?
I would like to know what you think, but there has to be a reason for all of us doing anything otherwise we wouldn’t get out of bed every day. There has to be a purpose, some form of motivation or desire to learn anything, especially a language.
For most adults in particular, our brains seem to have been hardwired to learning in a particular way, so that when we apply these standard rules and practices of education to language learning it doesn’t work.
This leads to frustration and a massive fallout out rate of learners when the study of a language goes beyond the, “Two coffees please,” or “Which way to the doctors please.”
So we can say that motivation, intelligence, aptitude, attitude, age, whether you learn better by listening, reading role playing, and your personality all have an influence how you learn a language.
So how do you go about finding your learning style. When I first had a go at independent language learning in the early 90’s, it was via a book/cassette course. It wasn’t the best means for me because when I had difficulties with the grammar which I couldn’t solve even through reading the book, I gave up!
Now, if I’d have been at a language class the teacher would have answered any such problems straight away. Language classes are great for that reason as well as having opportunities to practice your language skills live.
But for me, once a week was too little time spent on learning so I didn’t find that very productive. The combination of books/cassettes and classroom learning was much more productive only if the two learning methods complimented each other.
So my initial attempts at trying to learn a language with books/cassettes/CD’s classes in the evening all made for an expensive hobby!
When I asked serial language learners “How do you learn?”, they all had there own particular learning strategy.