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Breaking The Language Barrier?
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Breaking the Language Barrier?

Our excuses or barriers to even starting to learn a language.

Anyone who has tried and failed to learn a langauge will have at least at some time had some of these thoughts:

  1. It is too difficult and I just can't do it.
  2. I don't have the patience.
  3. It will take me too long before I can use it.
  4. The teacher is not very good and doesn't understand me.
  5. I can't find the time.
  6. I can't find the information to help me.
  7. I would have to pay for childcare if I go to classes.
  8. The classes are too big and I get lost.
  9. It's too expensive.
  10. The classes don't fit with my needs.

So there are many would be students who find an excuse to stop going to learn a language or indeed never get started. We shall never know how good they may have been at that new language.

Those that make it past these barriers still have problems.

For those would be new language experts who make it past the barriers so far listed there are still further fundamental barriers which they have to wrestle with. There are many to be sure, so let's take a look at two of the key barriers and see how they can be overcome.

The Basic Approach

Because we all learnt our native language so many years ago, we usually cannot remember how we did it, and when it comes to learning a new language we often don't have a clue. We may just go along to a class and assume that the way the language is being taught there is the correct way. Stop right there because this is just not true. Learning a language is not like anything else we have done in our life, and to be successful it is necessary to turn our thinking upside down.

If you are a visual learner then you learn by seeing and with a new language this is tricky. There is nothing to actually see. For these type of learners it will be necessary for them to go to a class and spend even a few weeks there so they can if you like "see" what they are going to learn.

If you are not the visual kind of learner you may prefer to hear and this is where cd courses come into there own. Listen to the course, practice it and speak it.

So there is a distinct need to explore the type of learner you are (most of us might not even know what type we are), and adopt your approach to that new language accordingly.

That new word pronunciation

One of the key problems that students face is actually listening intently to not only what is said but how it is said. Countries have dialects, and accents just like America and the UK. Talking to someone from a regional area in France can be very different to speaking to a Parisian. Both speak French but with regional accents it can sound very different.

Just as when we were learning our natural language the answer is to speak slowly. It is much better to speak a few words slowly and be understood, than to rapidly say a lot and face the embarrassment of being told that the other person did not understand a word you said. Practice saying words slowly and then together slowly, just like your children or grandchildren are doing, and you will find it will work. You will feel so good when the other person replies to you and obviously understood you.

Learn to Laugh at yourself

One last thought - learning a language can be a stressfull exercise, another reason why people don't. It is well known in emotional intelligence training that laughing breaks stress. Try being angry and laughing at the same time - can't be done. So when all the barriers are looming in front of you learn to laugh at yourself, and see how really helpfull this is. Try it - it works.


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