As a language teacher, blogger, and coach, I’ve heard just about every excuse there is for why one can’t learn a foreign language. Here are the most common, limiting, and ultimately untrue beliefs:
- “Learning languages is really difficult, especially non-Romance languages like Japanese.”
- “I don’t have enough time, money, or language ability to learn a language.”
- “I don’t live where the language is spoken.”
- “I’m too old to learn a language.”
While learning to speak a new tongue might be easier or more convenient for some people (e.g. those who have hours of free time available each day, deep financial resources, the freedom to travel frequently or move abroad, etc.), it is imperative to understand that anyone can learn a language well if they:
- Prioritize language learning in their lives.
- Do the right things consistently (heaps of listening and reading input and heaps of active speaking and writing output).
- Change their beliefs about language learning.
Here are a few tips and resources to help you reframe the language learning process:
- While every language will pose specific challenges, every language also blesses learners with some aspects that are rather easy (especialy for native speakers of English). Japanese in particular is frequently labeled a “hard” language, but there are actually a number of ways in which the language is easier than most people think. For more on this, check out my Fluent in 3 Months guest post Is Japanese hard? Why Japanese is easier than you think.
- As I write about in my post Your Problem is NOT a Lack of Time, Money, or Ability…, anyone can make at least a little bit of time each day to spend on language learning, everything you need to learn a language can be found online or at your local public library for FREE, and everybody can learn a foreign language, even if it takes some of us longer than others.
- In my post Do You Really Have to Move Abroad or Can You Learn a Language Well in Your Home Country?, I argue that although it might be ideal to live abroad, it’s certainly not a requirement for success. In today’s world, “I can’t learn Japanese because I live in rural Kansas” is an excuse, not a reality. With Internet access, a little creativity, and a lot of hard work, you really can learn any language, anywhere.