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The Challenges in Mastering a Foreign Language

2 years ago
Hello everyone,

This is my first post of what hopefully will become many. As a foreign language teacher, but even more as an avid language learner, I often find myself in conversations about language. Among my friends, we laugh about strange translations, joke about our poor pronunciation skills and share our stories of frustration we have about not understanding people in the street in our day-to-day lives. But we also end up talking about what makes a language so difficult to learn. In my opinion, I always think it first depends on two things: What language are you trying to learn? And second, What is your native language(s) and what other languages do you speak?
For an English speaker, the tones, word order, and writing system of Thai is so different from English that it becomes a huge leap to become fluent. While on the other hand, a language like German has more similarities with English and might be an easier task. I certainly know that Portuguese has been much easier for me after learning Spanish quite well. But that's not all there is to it!

Inside of mastering a language we find all these unique skills; pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, fluency, listening and reading. I think each of these can be challenging for different people for no apparent reason! You may have found that pronunciation was easier for you and you get compliments on your accent, but have a horrible time understanding and remembering grammar rules. Or maybe grammar makes perfect sense to you but you just dont have enough time with the language to develop fluency.

I'd love to hear from you! What has been your biggest challenge in your language learning journey? Why do you think that is? And how can you/did you overcome this difficulty? Also if you have an interesting topic you'd like me to write a future post about, comment below! Happy learning everyone.

Brian B.