Learning language naturally

I’ve just read an article about language learning which had a lot of thought-provoking points.

The one that stuck out the most was about changing along with your new language development. Too many times I’ve heard people stubbornly speaking a foreign language by trying to find the closest words from their native language. I know it’s almost impossible to develop a totally natural accent in a foreign language, but the article advises us to relax and let ourselves be influenced by the new language and culture.

6. When we learn, we change. We need to accept this change.

When we learn, our neural networks change, physically. When we learn a new language, we adopt some of the behaviour patterns of another culture and our personalities and our perceptions change. Many of the difficulties that grown-ups face in language learning, come from the a resistance to change. It is often more comfortable to follow the patterns and pronunciation of our own language, rather than to commit to fully imitating the new language.

The full article, 7 Concepts of Natural Language Learning, is well worth reading. The author, Steve Kaufmann, is a former Canadian diplomat who speaks 10 languages to a high level. I’d say he’s fairly qualified to give out some advice on the subject of language learning.

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