Overcoming Monolingualism 04 - Barriers Where We Want Bridges

Published by: Anonymous
September 25, 2011

I’m currently reviewing an article by Greg Thomson regarding strategy and community in language learning. But here’s one of my brief summaries thus far regarding the greatest barriers to effective language learning:

  1. bilingualism in a shared language among the target language community (i.e.- the people you’re hoping to learn from already know English)
  2. limited access to the language community either by geography or attitude towards outsiders (i.e.- you can’t make people talk to you!)
  3. cultural differences between your home and host cultures (i.e.- you can’t make people like you!)
  4. the relationship between languages that you know and the language you are seeking to know [sounds, grammar & syntax, shared vocabulary] (i.e.- it’s a lot harder for English speakers to learn Arabic than French)
  5. objective difficulty in certain languages [morphological complexity, rate of irregularity, agreement among words, high/low forms] (i.e.- Mandarin Chinese is just plain harder than Spanish)
  6. the individual learner [aptitude, motivation, personality, learning style, thinking patterns] (i.e.- get to know yourself and get ready to get over yourself)



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