Category Archives: Learning a foreign language

Apprehension learning a new language

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Do you have apprehension about learning a new language? If so, you are not alone.

In this country many people are apprehensive about learning a new language. Many people tend to think that people need to be ‘gifted’ or young to learn how to speak a foreign language. This is far from the truth.

Why might someone find it easy to speak more than one language?

Many people speak more than one language. This is often, because they live in a place where more than one language is spoken.

Imagine that you lived in a place where people around you speak two or more languages. If you were brought up in a place like this speaking more than one language would just be normal.

For many people speaking more than one language is completely normal. For some people it is like speaking two or more native languages.

Do you need to be young to learn a language?

It is a myth that you need to learn a language from a young age. Many older people successfully learn a new language from scratch.

Logically the longer someone has to take in the information, the more likely they are to be successful in learning the information.

In essence young people learning a language over many years are going to be better than, say, an older person learning over a fraction of the time. This is not because of the age difference, but because of the amount of time that has been spent on learning.

Does someone need to be ‘gifted’ to speak a foreign language?

It is myth that you need to be ‘gifted’ to be able to speak a foreign language. I find that it is often much more important to have a positive attitude towards learning. In addition having a little patience is important.

You get out of learning the effort you put in

You may learn quickly or you may learn slowly. I feel most people get out of learning what they put in. This is in the sense that the more someone practises the language, the more the person achieves.

Learning to speak a language is about your brain training your brain to connecting the theory to the practical use. Through practice and patience can speaking levels improve.

Can I learn a language if I have limited free time?

Yes, you can. Most people who learn with me are adults with limited free time. People who have limited time may sometimes take longer to learn, simply because they need time to take in the information. This however does not mean they cannot learn.

How is it best to learn?

Everyone is different and has their own learning style. However, it is far better to try and learn over several short bursts during the week. This is far better than looking at something for a long time once a week.

Your brain probably wants to take the information in gradually rather than in one burst.

Summary

I feel that anyone with a little bit of energy, positive thinking and a little effort can learn a language. Do not tell yourself that you cannot learn because you are older or have struggled in the past. You can do it.

The most important elements that will lead to successful language learning are to be patient, learn in short bursts and practise your skills. Approaching your learning in a logical and practical way will inevitably lead to success.

What I offer and Further Information

I offer language tuition in several foreign languages (Spanish, French, Italian, German & beginner’s Dutch). Contact me for more details or take a look at my Language Tutoring page.

Alternatively you may wish to look at my Facebook page and my Twitter page.

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Anyone can learn a language

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I have been a tutor since 2010 and it is my firm belief that anyone can learn a language. Like anything new, learning a language can initially feel a little challenging. However, with the right approach to learning a language I truly believe anyone can learn.

Over the eight years or so since I started tutoring, I have helped a large number of people to improve their language skills. Often people start learning with me as complete beginners, but sometimes people have been learning for some time before they start lessons with me. Regardless of this, I feel everyone can learn.

Admittedly I sometimes come across people who need more time than others at learning a language, but it is very unusual for anyone to struggle. I believe that if you are taught in a logical way and understand why people say things in a certain way, you can succeed.

The biggest challenge people often face when learning a foreign language is learning to accept that you cannot say certain things we say in English in other languages or at least you need to say it in a different way. In Spanish, for example, you cannot say that you ‘like’ something. Instead you have to say that something ‘pleases’ you. Most people adjust to the minor differences between languages fairly quickly without real difficulty. Achieving a more advanced level however requires a good appreciation of many differences, repeated practice and a bit of patience.

As regards foreign language grammar Spanish, Italian and French grammar tends to be fairly straightforward. German grammar tends to be a little more complex and requires more explanation because of the difference between languages. The German case system can at first seem confusing. Most concepts however are logical if you understand the reasoning behind the rules. It is rare for there to be a rule without a logical reason for the rule.

Another initial difficulty for many people is understanding sentence structure. Whilst we all use nouns, verbs and adjectives in English all the time in the sentences we create, we do not necessarily consciously think about it. In a foreign language understanding the roles of the different types of words is important, particularly for more advanced learners. The concept of what nouns, adjectives and verbs is not a difficult thing to learn, but is valuable especially when choosing which word to use from a foreign language dictionary or when speaking.

You can learn regardless of your age

One common misconception is only the young pick up languages easily. The truth is age should not be a barrier to learning. I find that adult learners and older learners want to know ‘why’ things are how they are. If they understand ‘why’, they learn things quickly.

Unlike younger people, older learners also generally are not easily intimidated by learning a new language. They know that as long as they put some effort in, they will progress. They are also realistic in what they can achieve in the short and longer term.

Repeated practice is essential to learning a language

One key thing about language learning is practice makes perfect. Practice, practice and more practice helps people to succeed. You can learn to speak a foreign language with confidence when you regular practise your speaking skills.

Whatever your existing knowledge, you can succeed at learning your foreign language skills.

Doing foreign language lessons / tuition with me

To discuss booking foreign language lessons with me, feel free to contact me. I offer Spanish, French, Italian and German at a variety of levels. I also offer beginner’s (basic) Dutch (e.g. for holidays).

For more information about my foreign language tuition services please click here.

Also see my Facebook page or my Twitter page.

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