Which Foreign Language?
It’s been said on other occasions that a key question people ask when thinking of learning a foreign language is “which foreign language should I try to learn?” Reasons for wanting or needing to learn a foreign language can be almost as many and as varied as the number of people themselves. Family, ancestry, employment, business, education, travel, adventure, romance and other personal concerns all may have their respective roles in the decision to learn and continue learning a foreign language.
With literally thousands of spoken languages in the world besides some of the major ones like English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, Italian, Japanese and German, obviously there’s no lack of choice. But many learners concede, “I hate trying to learn a foreign language”. Why? Here are the top seven of the most commonly given reasons.
The Seven Most Common Given Reasons
1. No way to practice regularly
“I know that learning a foreign language is a valuable skill, but no one I know speaks it and I have no way to practice”:
2. Long lists of vocabulary to memorize
“We get a 50-word plus long vocabulary list each week in class, and I just can’t keep up with memorizing them”.
3. Illogical Grammar Rules
“The grammar and rules of the foreign language just don’t make any sense to me” complain a number of foreign language learners.
4. Pronunciation Difficulties
“Whenever I try to speak in class everyone laughs at me because I pronounce my words badly, they say”.
5. Bad Foreign Language Teachers
Our foreign language teacher is absolutely horrible. She hardly seems to know the language herself. She really shouldn’t be trying to teach us”.
6. Not Enough Available Resources
“So what do we do with it (a foreign language)? We don’t have any good tapes, videos, songs, movies or games. For me, it seems like a waste.”
7. Foreign Travel is Too Expensive
“Hey, I’d love to visit a foreign country where the language is spoken, but I can’t get a visa”: “Even if I could get a visa, I’d never be able to afford the airfare and hotels.”
Lower Affective Filter
If an English as a foreign language teaching professional is going to do an effective job, these are but a few of the many possible difficulties and objections that may have to be overcome. Only then can the learners’ Affective Filter be lowered or compensated enough for both teacher and learner to get the most out of any language learning efforts.