Yes! ANYONE can learn a language!
Updated: Nov 28, 2020
All too often I hear comments like "I'm just not a languages person" ... "I wish I could speak another language" ... "I was never any good at learning languages" ... "I could never do that, I don't have the gift for languages" ...
So let me say now - learning a language has very little to do with talent, intelligence or a 'knack for languages'. Instead, it's a question of belief, commitment, perseverance and an open mind. These are the qualities I believe are essential in successfully learning a language. And the great news is, these are qualities any of us can learn to adopt!
This is the same I would argue for many skills in the context of life. Often we can focus too much on the idea of talent in regards to ability, when the reality is that, in most cases, ability develops from a very small percentage of talent and a very large percentage of hard work, determination and belief.
Following this logic, I am a firm believer that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Believe you can achieve it, and you will achieve it. And vice versa! Tell yourself you can't, and you won't. Our inner narrative shapes our actions and what and who we become, and so the power of telling yourself you can or can't do something can have real results. Therefore, in regards to languages, I argue that anyone can learn a language, as long as they so desire. As a language teacher, I get to see this first hand. I have been lucky enough to watch the impressive progress of students I have taught, from a wide range of ages and backgrounds, many of whom I have seen achieve things they at first didn't think possible.
And so, here are MY top three tips for the things that ARE important when learning a language: 1. Find the methods that work best for you - and stick to them. Whether it's doing just five minutes a day or one or two longer sessions a week. Whether it's studying independently or with a teacher. Whether working from a grammar book or watching videos. Writing notes on your walls or using vocabulary apps. The possibilities are endless! There are so many ways to learn and to practice. You just need to find what works for you.
2. Put the skills you learn into practice. Watch films or your favourite series in the target language, read books or articles, write about your day, listen to the radio and to songs in the language, speak to people in the language, or even just to yourself! Do things that you know you enjoy, but in the new language, and it won't feel like studying at all!
3. Never be scared to make mistakes. It will only hold you back from becoming brilliant! Making mistakes is so important in the learning process, and avoiding opportunities where you might make those mistakes will only hold you back! Everyone makes mistakes - it's totally normal. So go for it, embrace it and learn from it.
So whether it's in the context of learning a language, or in other areas of life, here's to replacing those 'I can't' beliefs with more 'I can!' beliefs. And if this inspires you to embark on a new language journey, or to continue with an old, good luck! Feel free to contact me for any help or advice 😄