How Best To Learn A Foreign Language

Excerpt from :

Language Autobiography

What I know about language is that it is essential in life and in learning. We use it to communicate ideas, feelings, needs, and thoughts. Being social creatures, we use language to bond with people, to create bonds of affection, and to create pillars of support for each other and for society as a whole. Language is something that can unite people; but if it is not known, it can also isolate those who do not know it.

How I learned what I know about language has come from my experience as a learner. What I remember learning about learning my native language is a real reticence to actually begin speaking: I was 5 years old before I started actually speaking; I would listen to my two older brothers have conversations and from them I learned both English and Spanish. Since my family and friends mostly spoke in English over time, I lost my Spanish and needed to retake it in school to become familiar with it again.

My parents and siblings thus played an important role in my process of learning language, as I grew...
...However, as we all grew up, we moved more towards English because of where we lived. We needed to speak English to fit in with the society around us. Thus, English became our predominant language used.

The role that my teachers and school environment played in my language development was that in school everyone spoke English and promoted the concept of communication. Teachers were very expressive and used language to create many feelings and ideas in our minds throughout the grade levels.

The hardest part I felt about studying a foreign language (in my case, even though I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household, this was still the foreign language for me because it was not taught as a primary language in my schools and was not used as a primary language among my peers) was learning the basic grammar rules. I had to approach Spanish when I was older like it was foreign to me, because the grammar was different from English, which I had learned. So while I knew pronouncements in Spanish and could hear the language, I did not know or understand the grammar. Learning this was the most difficult part for me. It is also why I now believe that grammar is the most important part to learning a new language, because it lays the guidelines. Once you know the rules, you can play the game, so to speak. Thus, grammar was the hard part; but the easy part of learning Spanish in school was that I was used to hearing it as a child in my home, so I could recall this exposure and it helped me get through the class.

My proficiency level in Spanish was, as a result of my household, advanced. What I found helped with my learning Spanish in school was repetition, which I got a lot of at home with my family. Chomsky's Universal Grammar language acquisition theory was used in my classes…

Sources Used in Documents:


Adichie, C. (2009). The danger of a single story. TED. Retrieved from

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