Dec 13th 2018

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5 Common Myths about Learning English

Guest post written by Mary Whitman.

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Some people are successful in learning the English language, others are not. There are many reasons for this, including motivation, time, and effort. But, the biggest factor of them all is the understanding of the learning process.

‘’To be a successful learner means to debunk the myths about learning English. If you believe in the untrue statements related to the learning of the English language, you won’t have the motivation and readiness to learn the language yourself. ‘’ – explains Bob Hylon, writer at AssignmentGeek.

There’s plenty of untrue, irrelevant, and bad information about language education. If your excuses for not learning English are related to the usual common myths, you need to bust through them and start to actually learn the language. A successful student possesses the motivation because they don’t believe in these myths.

To assist you in this endeavor and to help you speak fluent English, I am including a short list of the five most prevalent myths out there.

1.   You are too old to learn English

No, you are never too old to learn English. This is one of the biggest misconceptions, since no research supports such thinking. You don’t have to be a young learner to be a successful learner. In fact, some researchers found out that adults did better when they learned English in terms of pronunciation.

A neuroscience professor in Barcelona thinks that adults have the advantage when it comes to some specific aspects of the learning process, such as learning the vocabulary, which results from their wider knowledge of the vocabulary in their mother tongue.

Surely, there is research that proves the very opposite – that children master the learning process faster than adults. This might be truth in some sense, but the fact remains – you are never too old to learn English.

2.  You can only be fluent if you LIVE in an English speaking country

Untrue.

Getting immersed in a second language is truly the fastest and most efficient way to learn it. Living in a country where people speak the English language does make it easier, but you don’t necessarily have to live there to become fluent.

With technology, it is now possible to get virtually immersed in another culture and language. You can use technology to communicate with someone who is a native in the language or practice with other students.

Not only that. Practicing with a teacher, peers, or simply listening to people speaking the English language will help you improve your speech in the language.

3.  You cannot speak fluent English without a large vocabulary

It is only natural for a non-native speaker of the English language to not have the usage of a large vocabulary. However, considering that the English language is very large and still growing, not even native speakers possess enough vocabulary to state: I know English perfectly.

With this being said, you don’t need to have a perfect vocabulary to speak fluent English. In fact, most of the language used in conversation is repetitive. People tend to use the same couple hundreds of words on daily basis, even if their vocabulary is much bigger.

So, if you have a vocabulary of roughly one thousand words, you can get through a conversation without stumbling on each word phrase. This is something you can achieve in a period of two years or less.

The key to this is to start speaking the language as soon as you start learning. When it comes to learning a different language, practice makes perfect.

4.  Technology makes it pointless to start learning a second language

Or third, or forth.

No, this isn’t true. The use of Google Translate simply does not suffice. If you believe that apps can replace the human knowledge of a language, you cannot be more wrong. Learning a different language is never pointless.

If you approach this with the thinking: why would I learn another language when I can just open an app and make it translate everything for me, you will never learn the language. This myth is seriously flawed because technology cannot replace humans when it comes to knowing, speaking and translating a language.

No app is of such high quality as a human translation. In most cases, the results will be incorrect, confusing, or incomprehensible. You’ve surely heard of many instances where automated translation caused confusion and even problems.

Secondly, you might use technology to translate, but never to interpret. You won’t really be able to communicate face-to-face with a machine or app that replaces human knowledge of a language. Even if it could, what kind of conversation will it be if you have to talk through a voiceover?

And finally, there’s the fun and the fulfillment. If you use machines to replace learning the English language, where will you get the fun and fulfillment of learning it on your own?

5.  It takes a lot of time to learn the language

Learning English does not take forever. There is no such thing as a hard language if you truly want to learn it. Even at a slow pace, dedication can let you reach extremely high levels of proficiency within a short time-frame. The estimate for a pace of half an hour daily would range between four to five years of study.

But, there isn’t really a reason to debate the time necessary for you to learn the language. This will depend on your willingness to learn, the time you can spend on learning it, as well as the program. But, the fact remains that learning a language is nothing different from learning anything else, in the sense that if you want to learn it, it won’t take forever to do so.

It will take you a while and you will have to dedicate your time and efforts to this goal. Time will pass, but it will definitely not be too long or forever. Furthermore, seeing that this is a great language and universally used to communicate, learning it will be a great achievement for you, and a practical step to take.

Don’t let myths pull you back. If you want to learn English or any other language, there isn’t a good reason to stop you from doing so. Neither age, vocabulary, and definitely not time. The secret behind being a successful language student is motivation and understanding of the process. Naturally, this includes knowing of the myths and the real stories that debunk them. We hope that our article helped clear things up.

About author: Mary Whitman is a Master of Arts based in Adelaide, South Australia. At her odd moments, she is taking full advantage of creative writing and blogging.

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