Myths of Learning a Foreign Language

Learning a Foreign Language

It is better to learn with a native speculator than with a teacher.

If one’s greatest asset is the birth certificate itself, then it says a lot about such a person. Unfortunately, such an opinion is used by many language schools, which boast that they teach native speakers of a given language. Of course, a native speaker will probably have a perfect pronunciation and can be a good solution, but if you are already at a C1/C2 level and want to speak the same dialect as him.

Everyone else needs someone who not only speaks a language from the theoretical point of view in order to be able to explain new issues but also simply speaks Polish, because some issues below the advanced level may turn out to be incomprehensible when translated in English. Thus, a native speaker “feels” his language; he knows what is natural, but he does not always know why. Would such an extremely exhaustive explanation of the type “because that’s better for me” be enough for you? Everyone makes mistakes and assumes that the British is not doing them is simply unfounded. It is not uncommon for conscientious pupils who, after language courses, do not make all the classic mistakes made by the locals in a given language area.

A learning guide is unnecessary.

The handbook does not serve as an unnecessary gadget either on my desk or on a student’s desk. The handbook provides a framework for learning and in fact, it is mainly for the learner to see how science goes, what is ahead of him/her and to return more easily to something that has already been or maybe has escaped (because it always escapes something, it is normal). Moreover, good language learning manuals are created in compliance with the international classification of language proficiency levels, also adopted by the Council of Europe (from A1, i. e. the level of the beginner, to C2, i. e. the level of proficiency at home level). Each level determines the extent to which language skills need to be mastered (speaking, reading, listening and writing) in order to be able to move quietly to a higher level. Next time you crooked the book, think it’s really your good friend who patiently shows you the way forward.

Grammar is not necessary to speak.

Whether you like it or not, grammar is the essence of language. It is thanks to it that we know how to create words and build sentences. Without grammar, there is no language learning and if you really want to learn a language, you have to accept it. I’m not saying that grammar is the most important because in language learning every element is equally important. Grammar alone will not do anything to human beings and vocabulary alone will not help anything. This is about a change of thinking: grammar is not to make life difficult, but to make it easier. Often, comparing the learning process by children (and even infants) with the way adults learn languages is at best a misunderstanding, and at worst an attempt to stretch on a “miraculous” course.

Perhaps even babies do not learn grammar from books, but this does not mean that they do not learn it at all. They learn, but they learn differently; just as no adult will ever learn because it is physically impossible. Anyway, even if they could, adults would not want to learn a language like children, unless someone is satisfied with the triennial vocabulary and the ability to build incredibly complex sentences such as “mum eat” after three years of education. This is because how children learn.

The newest methods are better than older methods.

This myth refers to the previous point. While novelties from the world of methodology and methodology are curiosities with which it is worth being kept up to date, remember that linguistics is not a hot science and there are no great breakthroughs here, such as in physics, chemistry or medicine. I always encourage my students to get acquainted with various materials, strategies, and methods of learning English, because it is best to convince themselves of their own experience, but I can offer professional advice to everyone if only someone wants to get an objective opinion.

Lack of visible progress is a sign that science is on the wrong track.

Apart from the situation in which someone does not really learn, the lack of visible effects may result from…. increasingly higher advancement. Paradoxical only at first glance, but the teacher is just to take a look at the second time. All those who have reached the mystical level of intermediate (intermediate) choral level even signal that they are no longer developing. On the one hand, this is a very grateful level at which students are becoming more and more self-confident and confident in their own skills, but on the other hand, the nasty magic of this level makes suddenly, almost every day, progress seems to have disappeared. The point is that a large dose of grammar has already been known, and from now on there will be less and fewer breakthrough moments, which will take place at the lower levels. The same is true of vocabulary: the vocabulary of words should already be so rich that now science will more and more resemble enlargement and grinding, not blown. Message tests, to which some people feel an aversion, help: not only do they allow for an active repetition of the material, they also keep track of the knowledge they have acquired and indicate whether or not to return to something, and what progress is looking like. Numbers, and nowadays everyone likes digits so much, right?

Yes, myths are pleasant to listen or read, but if they concern matters that have a real impact on our lives, we should deal with them fairly. I would also like to invite you to read the article Myths about language proficiency and the series Myths about the grammar of English.



If I had to close down what I would like to convey to you in one sentence, I would advise you to learn conscientiously, be patient and trust the teacher. Let the quotation I quoted at the beginning be a message worth taking to heart. I encourage you to take a critical, objective look at the world. Maybe you will discover something valuable that will positively change your thinking, attitudes and habits? As a last resort, learning any new skill boils down to learning a new habit.

Myths of Learning a Foreign Language
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