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10 Myths That Hinder Your Language Learning Goals

August 1, 2017
Languages

Learning a language takes time, dedication, and a lot of studying. With all of this already working against our foreign language learning goals, we don't need anything else to discourage us! 

| Voyaging Viking | 10 Myths that Hinder Your Language Learning Goals

Myth 1: English is Enough

Definitely not! Try going to a country like Russia-it is huge and they feel really no need to learn languages other than Russian. Try going to South America! There are plenty of places that haven't implemented comprehensive English classes. Besides, it is always best to approach people in their own language before assuming they speak English.

Myth 2: German, French, and Spanish are the most widely spoken/useful languages to learn

Sure, they will help in France, Spain, South America, and Germany. What if you want to go to Italy? Morocco? Sweden? Thailand? Many people in countries like France and Germany have better English skills anyway. Why not learn Thai or Bengali? You'll be able to talk to people you weren't able to previously.

Myth 3: You're "too old" to learn a language

It's easier for children to learn a language because, well, they're programmed to do it. They can learn just by absorbing. We have to try a bit harder. You are never too old to begin studying a language. You just haven't found a method that works for you.

Myth 4: You have to have an incredible memory

Nope! Memorizing is, in my opinion, the worst way you can learn a language. You can't learn a language by reciting grammar rules. You learn a language by speaking and listening. Learn phrases you will use. If you aren't going to perform brain surgery in your target language, don't bother with learning that. Learning a language gives you another way to express yourself.

Myth 5: You must go to a language school

It can be helpful to have a guide but there are so many resources online and at libraries you can take advantage of. Everyone's style is different.

|  Voyaging Viking | Language Learning

Myth 6: If you go to China, learn Chinese. If you go to India, learn Hindi. If you go to Paraguay, learn Spanish. If you go to Switzerland, learn French.

There are so many languages in just one country. If you go to Spain...do you learn Spanish or Catalan? In Switzerland, not everyone speaks French and it might not be the kind of French you study!

Myth 7: _______ Language is useless

No language is useless. I mean, tell that to the people that use the language! You are missing out on meeting some great people and having wonderful experiences if you will skip a language because you think it is useless. Besides, you get to exercise your brain! 

Languages are beautiful and they represent a culture and a world of history! The best way to experience a country and its culture is through their own language.

Myth 8: Foreign language learning is outdated because of translation technologies

How many times have you run something through Google Translate that just didn't make sense? Something didn't sound right? Most of the time, right? It is good for words and short phrases but not complicated ideas. Humans can pick up on idioms, nuances, and tones where computers and technology can't.

Myth 9: Your genes determine if you can learn a language successfully

Some people are good at math, others are not. Some people find language learning easier than others. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. The biggest thing for you if you don't feel like a natural language learner is to find something that works for you.

Myth 10: Learning a language is always expensive

With resources online and at your local library it doesn't have to be. Tutors are expensive, classes can be too, but these aren't a necessity.

Want more on language learning? 

| Voyaging Viking | Language Learning Tips
| Voyaging Viking | 10 Myths that Hinder Your Language Learning Goals
Siggi Einarson

My name is Siggi-dubbed by my American friends because of the Icelandic yogurt-I am a writer, polyglot, and aspiring expat, not a cup of yogurt (unfortunately).

My love for travelling began with a trip to Iceland and Sweden to visit my family when I was just 15 years old. I spent so long dreaming of the possibilities of life abroad but I always figured these dreams were too far reached. Flash forward almost 10 years, here I am again, both cursing and thanking this damn travel bug.

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