4 Language Learning Myths

Myths, as defined by dictionaries are false or unproved beliefs that societies use to justify certain phenomena. Here are 4 myths about language learning.

#1- Languages can only be learned in school

False! Although languages can be and are learned in a classroom, that does not mean that is the only place. School curricula consist of foreign language instruction and students are required to learn a foreign language for a certain number of years. However is “learning” truly happening? There are many instances where students have taken years of a second language, but after graduation they are unable to produce a simple sentence. It can be said that students in schools may not be as motivated as people who are learning on their own.

#2- English speakers should not learn a second language because everyone speaks English

There is a common belief among English speakers that because the world speaks their language they should not make the effort to learn any other language. However there are many reasons to why people should learn a language, for example communicating with the cultural surrounding in a foreign country. There are also studies that show that learning a second language improves your cognitive abilities and can also ‘boost’ the brain and make you smarter.

#3- You cannot become proficient in a language if you are learning it after puberty

The critical period theory in language learning states that languages cannot be fully mastered if learning starts after puberty. However there is truth to this theory and the older you get the harder it becomes to learn a second language. Although there are people out there who have achieved native-like fluency when learning a second language as adults. Still, there is limited scientific evidence against the critical period theory, but we do see evidence of native-like speakers who start learning after the critical period, which makes the theory not set in stone.

#4- You cannot learn two languages at the same time

“If you learn more than two languages at the same time, you will get confused and wont learn anything.” This is not true. Why can’t we? If we can study History and Biology at the same time and not get them confused, this should be true for languages as well.

-Pratiksha Vansia

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