5 myths of language learning
Since there are many false ideas in the online world about language learning, we collected the most widespread ones. In this article you can read why the most common myths of language learning are not true.
1. myth: the sooner the child starts to learn a language the better.
Since children are surprisingly capable of language acquisition, either it is their native or a foreign language, many think it’s best to have them start learning a second language at the age of 2 or 3. This is false on several levels.
First, children use the simplest language, it’s only basic grammar and vocabulary they use. They probably start using a foreign language sooner, but with much more mistakes and much less delicacy. This is why it’s extremely hard to compare the language acquisiton skills of a child and a grown-up.
Also, psycholinguistic researches have shown that language consciousness develops after the 6th year. So, it’s at the start of school when children actually start to understand the rules of grammar. If they start learning new languages, they will start to get confused and mix them up. Even bilingual kids fall behind around their 10th year, though from then on they perform better.
2. myth: It’s impossible to learn a language in aduldhood without accent.
It’s also a common myth that you can’t speak a language completely without an accent if you started learning it as an adult. Yet, there are many grown-ups who speak better a foreign language than native speakers tehemselves, and even their accents don’t give them away. It requires a lot of practice and native environment to achieve this, but it’s absolutely possible.
3. myth: One can’t, and shouldn’t learn more languages than two.
Many think that there is simply no more room in the human mind for more than 2 or 3 languages. However, those who speak exceptionally many languages always say the more languages they speak the easier it is to learn a new one.
Why? To make studying effective, you have to fixate the grammatic rules and expressions, such as verb, tense, mode, auxiliary verb… For example, there’s no complex past tense or grammatical gender in Hunarian, so it’s hard for the first-time learner to comprehend these when learning English. However, if you study German after English, you’ll have no problems with understanding perfekt and plusquamperfekt, as grammatical gender will also be clear at once. Plus, similar words make them easier to learn.
If you are wondering which language to learn, you find useful ideas in our previous article: English or German
4. myth: Language acquisition is also possible while sleeping.
The fashionable 14-day relaxation courses are based on human laziness. It is true your brain gets informations while sleeping, but it’s questionable if you can recall them when you wake up.
Another problem with these techniques is that they don’t let the brain rest. We need sleep for a reason, this way we get enough energy for the next day. It might be more tiring, but it’s more effective if you lighten up language learning insted of trying to run away from it. For example, language learning applications designed for smartphones are like games. Here’s where you can read about them: Language learning softwares.
5. myth: Seniors don’t have the memory skills to learn a language anymore.
It is true that memory decreases with time, but it doesn’t mean you can never learn any language over 60. What is more, learning a language shakes up the brain a little, so language learning seniors perform better on other fields of life, too.
So, go and study, we wish you good luck!
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