What better way to embark upon this new blog than to dismiss the myths that prevent some of us from even trying to learn another language. Yes. Besides the common comments that one might hear like, “German is really difficult!” or “Don’t learn Japanese or you’ll die”, there are a lot of myths out there that act as mental blocks when we decide to start learning another language. In this blog post, I will be focusing only on 3 of those myths which I consider are the main suspects.
“I’m not a language person.”
Cliche statement alert! – If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say this I would already have travelled to all the countries in the world 5 times. According to one of the most recognised polyglots and one of my role models, Benny Lewis, saying you are not gifted at learning other languages is the “fear-translation” for saying you are afraid of failing at learning languages. I am a stern believer of the saying “nothing is achieved through sheer luck” and I think that since we learned a language once before, then without a doubt it will be more than possible that we can do it again. Especially seeing that we have a lot more resources and insight than when we were our smaller and cuter selves.
“I don’t have anyone to practice with.”
Essentially, when we are learning a new language it is normal for us to have the desire to communicate with a native speaker, and the mistake we often make is thinking that the only way to do this is by either travelling, having a native speaker as a friend or by sliding in the DMs of a stranger on Instagram. However, thanks to the many technological advancements over the years, the internet has become one of the passports you can use to immerse yourself in your target language. For example, websites like Tandem and Italki allow you to meet native speakers who are willing to help you and in a less awkward way. In addition, Youtube is also a popular tool that you can use to access fun, creative ways to improve in your target language, such as music, and movies among others.
PS: I intend on dedicating an entire blog post on the best language learning sites and apps. So stay tuned!!!
What I am trying to say here is that you should not worry about travelling if at the moment you do not have the time or money. Open your eyes and exploit the internet because at the moment this is your “free passage” to whatever country your target language is spoken in.
“That’s way too much vocabulary & grammar to learn!”
Learning another language should be treated as a hobby and not as a task nor a chore. That is, never allow yourself to feel like there is a deadline for this wonderful pastime. Treat it like any other hobby that you have and you will see how easy you will progress. Trust me. I started studying Portuguese with this approach two months ago and after only 3 weeks I felt a lot more confident and excited than when I officially started in November last year. Some strategies that you can adopt to help mould this type of mindset are:
- watching TV shows and movies you like or already have seen.
- listening to covers of your favourite music.
- Subscribing to Youtubers that vlog about your hobbies and interests, and
- reading your favourite books
Of course, all of the latter is to be done in your target language …
I challenge you to try the above strategies as I guarantee that in no time you will effortlessly dedicate time to your studies and soon attain your desired level in whatever language or languages you love.
– Un saludo afectuoso, Jer.