The most difficult thing for a person to accept when he begins to learn a foreign language is that the foreign language is so different from his own. Of course, he expects to find some differences; it may sometimes seem to him that some of the differences are completely unnecessary.
A person’s native language has a powerful influence on him. After all, he has been speaking his language since before he can remember. His family, his friends, even complete strangers – everyone around him uses that language. Under such circumstances, it is only natural that a person would have the feeling that his language is the most beautiful, the most perfect and the most logical of all languages.
Therefore, the first thing that one must learn as he begins to study a foreign language is that, each language is the best possible language for the people who use it. We would not expect a person from India to think and act exactly like a person from France. And we should not expect the languages of India to be exactly like the French language. After this fact has been understood and accepted, many of the problems in language learning disappear.
There are other attitudes which you will have to develop in order to learn a language successfully. The most important of these is that learning a language requires constant practice. You must not think that because you have seen or heard a word or phrase one time, or five times or ten times, that you really know it and know how to use it. You must be ready to repeat new lessons again until you can really use them, automatically, without having to think about them.
Many students have the idea that if they can memorize long list of vocabulary words they will be learning the language. Learning a language is much more than that. In the early stage of studying a language, we must learn more important things, such as pronunciation and grammatical structure. After the student can use the grammatical structure, he can then begin to increase his vocabulary. Learning new vocabulary without knowing the grammatical structure of the language is something like trying to build a house without using a plan.
Another important thing to remember is that it is not necessary to begin with a lot of reading or writing in the foreign language. Reading and writing lead to many very special problems which may complicate learning for the beginning student.
The most important thing of all in learning a language is to have patience. If you keep working steadily, day after day, constantly practicing the language and using it at every opportunity, you will learn to speak a language well.
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