Find out the truth behind the myths of language learning!
Native speakers are the best teachers: Possibly, but there’s no guarantee. Although native speakers can be excellent language teachers, it has become more and more common to see native speakers without professional training in education teaching in classrooms. Their lack of training, and sometimes limited experience, often makes it harder for them to show their students how the language works. Depending on your personal preferences, this can be good or bad. However, not all native speakers can be considered effective communicators. Odd pronunciation, poor grammar, and even bad spelling caused by attrition (partial language loss) are also common, especially among native speakers living abroad for many years.
You’re too old to learn a language: The eternal debate. It is a topic that causes polemic and there are tons of studies that try to prove the story goes this or that way. My opinion is that language learning is all about attitude and motivation, no matter the age. If you want to do it and believe you can do it, you’ll manage. I watched quite a few adults learn Spanish this year and I am happy to say that they were all successful. Don’t use age as an excuse. Be one of the success stories!
Living abroad guarantees that you’ll learn the local language: Well, not really. Don’t get me wrong, going abroad IS helpful, but it is far from being the Holy Grail of language learning. In fact, one can spend years living in another country and still not manage to communicate with the locals in their own code. The reason is that, even when you live in the middle of it all, there are ways to remain (somewhat) isolated from the language. This means that the success of your experience is largely influenced by the opportunities you have to be exposed to the language and the efforts you make to actually use it. If you work in a company that operates in English, you’re probably not going to learn anything else but English unless you make an extra effort. The same goes for exchange programs where you study in a language you already know and spend most of your free time hanging out with fellow foreigners. In the end, living abroad without integrating with the locals is probably as effective as sitting in front of a closed grammar book.
Can you think of any other lies related to language learning?