5 Myths about Learning a New Language

  • There are many myths about learning a new language. Yes, learning a second language can be a frustrating experience. But not everything you hear about the process is true. Here are 5 of the most common myths about learning a new language as well as the ruth behind the myths.
  • Myth 1. You can’t learn two languages at the same time Truth: It is more than possible to learn two languages at the same time. But it's probably a good idea to start learning one language and build up a certain level of competence before you turn to the second language. Also, are you learning two languages that belong to the same family or are they completely different? It would be quite a challenge to learn Spanish and Italian at the same time because a lot of the vocabulary is similar. But if you have already a working knowledge of Spanish, it will be quite easy for you to learn Italian. As long as one puts in the dedication and time, there is no reason one can’t learn two languages at the same time.
  • Myth 2. You can’t become proficient in a foreign language unless you learned it before puberty. Truth: Sadly, there is some truth to this. It is much harder for you to learn a language once you get older. However, this is not absolute. The truth is that there have been millions of adults that have not only learned a new language, but also ended up speaking it fluently.
  • Myth 3. All the languages in the world are of equal difficulty. Truth: Although many languages are very similar, each one has a different level of difficulty. Depending on what youre native tongue is, a language can be hard for some, while at the same time be easy for others. A person who has grown up speaking Spanish all his or her life will find it easy to learn a language like Italian. This is because the differences in grammar are minor and you'll only need to concentrate on differences in pronunciation, idioms and vocabulary. On the contrary, if one if a native speaker of Spanish, learning a language like Japanese will be extremely difficult because every aspect of the language is different. Some languages are definitely more difficult than others.
  • Myth 4. You should learn a language till you are proficient and only then move on. Truth: It’s just a Western fetish to try learning languages till proficiency. And really, why would you do that? As long as you can communicate and understand while talking to another person, all is alright. Learn until you are able to talk about weather or ask where the toilet is and move on. One doesn’t need to be perfect when learning a new language because quite frankly, it’s not possible to be perfect. Everyone ends up making mistakes, and these mistakes are what help us learn.
  • Myth 5. You shouldn’t learn any foreign language because everybody speaks English. Truth: This is completely untrue. The truth is that only 350 million people worldwide speak English as a first language. That’s only about 5% of the world population, leaving 95% percent of the world speaking another language. So why not learn another language? It has a large number of benefits, and can be an extremely fulfilling experience.