“I can’t learn a language now: I should have started earlier!”; “I don’t have the time”; “There’s no point.” Have you ever heard these phrases? Then you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to tell you what the 3 biggest myths are that hinder your language learning so that you can get rid of them.
1. You have to learn a language from a young age to succeed
Your children come home from school and your eldest child, only 9 years old, recites a list of 10 words in English with an impeccable accent. You say, “If only I’d started English at his age! I’d probably be bilingual by now…”. People know it all too well that to speak a foreign language properly, you have to start when you’re very young.
Wrong! (And even absolutely mistaken 😉 ) You can learn a language at any age.
If the youngest have this ability to absorb knowledge to assimilate it quickly, the “older” ones are not to miss out! In fact, scientific studies have shown that adults are more efficient at learning languages than children.
A good command of their mother tongue and its subtleties, greater experience and known and proven learning methods are all assets that adult learners have that children lack.
So, rather than regretting not starting earlier, focus on the advantages of your age to effectively learn the language of your choice!
👉 On the same subject: Is it harder to learn a language as an adult?
2. It takes far too long to learn a foreign language!
How long does it take to learn a language? A few weeks, 6 months, 5 years, more?
Actually, it all depends on your mother tongue, how similar it is to your target language, how many hours you can devote to it on a daily basis, the resources you use… In short, there are so many parameters involved that it would be very difficult to give you a precise answer.
The FSI ( Foreign Service Institute – USA) has tried to classify languages according to their level of difficulty (for an English-speaking learner) in order to determine the number of hours of teaching needed to obtain a level of ‘professional competence’, or B1/B2 on the CEFR scale.
The languages are thus classified into 4 groups:
- Category 1 (easy): 24 to 30 weeks;
- Category 2 (medium): 36 weeks;
- Category 3 (difficult): 44 weeks;
- Category 4 (very difficult): 88 weeks.
When you look at it this way, you might think that learning a language takes a lot of time. But in fact, that’s not true.
If you do, for example, 30 minutes of active learning per day (which is a reasonable and manageable amount of time), and in addition you:
- take one or two hours of lessons a week with a native speaker;
- watch films in VO;
- speak in your target language with friends;
- play language games (in real life or on your smartphone);
The weeks mentioned above can go by very quickly! You can achieve a good language level in less time than you originally thought.
💡 Going further: Which languages are easiest to learn?
3. Languages are useless anyway…
After all, with smartphones and instant translation apps, what’s the point of learning a language these days?
We mentioned it in a previous article: language learning has many proven beneficial effects on the brain. First of all, it is a bulwark against degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown that people who speak a second language develop the effects of such diseases much later than the rest of the population. In addition, by changing neural connections, language learning makes our brains more efficient by having:
- better memory;
- the ease of performing several tasks at the same time;
- greater cognitive acuity and alertness;
- greater concentration capacity…
Languages train and boost your brain like no other activity!
✨ We recommend reading our article: Benefits of a bilingual brain
And if that wasn’t enough, speaking multiple languages helps your career and reflects in your salary.
According to the consultancy firm Asterès, people who master at least one foreign language (at a conversational level) earn up to €4,300 more per year than their colleagues. So why deprive yourself?
From now on, when you hear yourself say “I can’t learn a language”, think again! If your inhibition is due to one of the 3 myths detailed here, you now have the keys to get rid of it. And if you need to be guided in your learning, trust the expertise of 1to1PROGRESS!