Silly things people say about learning foreign languages 1


silly things people say about language learning

In the 15+ years I’ve been learning foreign languages, I’ve heard my share of silly things people say about language learning. I thought it would be fun to put this silliness together and make a video!

You can watch it below or, if you prefer, scroll down to read the post! Don’t forget I’ve got tons of fun and useful language learning videos on my YouTube channel so head over there and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss any future videos!

Here’s the write-up of the most silly things people say about learning foreign languages!

1. Why are you learning [insert language]?

Has anyone ever questioned why you’re learning the language you’re learning? And gave you all the arguments against learning it? And perhaps also told you that you should probably just learn French or another “useful” language?

The ‘why are you learning [insert language]’ question is a silly one and I probably don’t even have to tell you why it’s silly.

We’re both language learners – you and I – and we both know that people learn foreign languages for lots of different reasons. And sometimes they learn just because they want to.

We really shouldn’t have to explain to anyone, or justify, why we’re learning a foreign language. We can do what we want. And we’re great!

2. I apologise for my [insert language]

Have you heard anyone start a sentence with ‘I apologise for my English’, ‘I’m sorry but my English is not very good’, before proceeding to what they actually want to say? I certainly have.

Some people feel they need to offer an apology if they think their language skills are not good enough. Good enough for who? They’re already speaking a foreign language! They’re already making an effort to communicate! That’s definitely good enough so there’s no need to apologise. Apologising is silly – trust me.

3. I’m too old to learn a language

That’s a classic excuse – and it’s silly, you guessed right!

Some people like to say that it’s too late for them to learn a language. And that children have it easy because they learn so naturally, like they don’t have to do anything.

In fact, learning a language as an adult is not only perfectly possibly but it can also give you an advantage. It’s because adults, unlike children, have the ability to reflect on their learning. They know what they want to focus on, they know what they’re good at, and they have the ability to adjust their learning based on that.

I know (and know of) a number of language learners who have learned languages successfully later in life, including people who were never exposed to a foreign language in their early lives.

So, age is not an excuse!

4. Learning [insert language] is possible if you live in [insert country]

Anyone can learn a language as long as they live in the country where that language is spoken, right? Have you ever heard anyone use it as a silly excuse? Saying that they could, of course, become fluent in French if only they lived in France. But they don’t live in France so they can’t learn it.

Trust me – it’s a silly thing to say. Millions, if not billions of people around the world have learned foreign languages without ever travelling abroad. It’s perfectly possible. I never visited an English-speaking country before I was 19, which is when I went to the UK to study at university. But I learned English at home.

5. You need to know the grammar to speak

Know the grammar? Does anyone actually know all the grammar? It’s a silly thing to say that you need to learn the grammar of a language first, before you start to speak. Just in case you don’t make any mistakes?

Learning grammar is, of course, an important element of learning a language. But you need to do more than that. And most importantly, you can – and you should – speak straight away, even if you don’t know much grammar.

You will continue to learn grammar throughout your time of learning the language and you will continue to perfect the way you speak. And make fewer mistakes over time.

So, are you ready? Start speaking today!

I hope you guys enjoyed this little post and don’t forget to head over to my YouTube channel to watch my videos with my top advice on learning foreign languages.

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  • Magda

    There’s also “why do you learn the vocabulary when you can just use a disctionary” and my personal favourite – “Why do you learn [insert any language], there’s Google Translate” 🙂