Can Anyone Learn A New Language, Or Am I Just A Bit Thick??

by Clare Innes

Just how much time might it take?

There are generally two factors that decide whether a language is easy or harder to learn. These are how much time you have available to devote to learning, and the determination you have to progress. It also makes a difference if the language you want to learn is closely related to your own mother tongue.

You can be looking at a period of around 3 months, if 80% or more words are common with your mother tongue, or 6 months if you don’t have quite so much time to give to studying to become fluent For other languages you may be looking at 2 or 3 years. It is always much easier to learn a new language if you can spend a good amount of time surrounded by people who speak this language, rather than having to learn from a book.

Can anyone learn a new language?

Most people can learn most languages if they work with a sensible method for a reasonable period regularly. Although it is true that some people are really bad at learning languages, there are very few of these. Rather, there are many people who were discouraged by bad experiences in school and who believe that if they dont speak french or german with any fluency after having spent 10 years in school studying it, this is because they are not gifted. That is rubbish!

There is almost always an efficient learning method that will help you to learn a new language, although it may be different for different people. Whether you have a good or a bad memory, or you think you may not be gifted, don’t give up on your plan to learn a new language; there are so many ways to do it.

Most people can speak a language like a native if they live in a country where they have to speak it all the time, especially when they are young. For all the others, learning to speak a language without accent is very difficult, something very few achieve. But nonetheless it is possible to learn to speak a language with fluency, to be able to express your thoughts with finesse and understand all the intricacies in the speech of the natives.

From the beginning, set your sites on a goal. The first can be to speak enough in your most needed situations (ie the supermarket, calling for a taxi, a restaurant, etc), and to understand what is said back to you. The main difference between an average student and an outstanding one, is the ability to keep pushing the bounderies and not giving up; it doesn’t matter how long it takes.

You should realize that you will never stop learning a particular language and that there will nearly always be room for improvement in your skills. Decide to improve your language skills everytime you can and never be satisfied with approximate but sufficient skills. The idea is not to work constantly (you have better things to do) in order to pass, one day, for a native.

Keep trying to improve your skills, with new words or phrases or to perfect your pronunciation. Aim high and you’ll get there!

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