Do we learn a language?

Natural Spanish

This post is focused on all those who want to learn or are already learning a language. We are going to be talking about the learning process and sharing some tips, especially for the more autonomous forms of learning.

For a start…

What is learning a language? Learning a language does not consist of knowing how to conjugate verbs in all possible verb tenses, nor of memorizing endless lists of vocabulary. This does not mean that it is not necessary, but it is only part of it.

Learning a language means being able to communicate in that language through the different communication skills (oral and written comprehension and expression), that is, knowing how to use the language, and therefore, interacting with its users.

How do you learn a language? It is a very simple question whose answer is quite the opposite, quite complex. To answer this question we need a bit of context.

Learning, both of a mother tongue and a second language, have been, and continue to be, the subject of study and research in numerous disciplines such as linguistics, psychology, pedagogy, neurology,… to name a few. These studies and investigations are carried out taking into account different factors and variables that affect and condition the process of learning a language.

Let us now talk about the factors mentioned in the previous paragraph. There are countless factors and different ways of classifying them (internal and external, direct and indirect,…). But what interests us is to be aware that each of them affects each person’s learning process in a different and significant way. For this reason, the acquisition process, especially of a second language, is practically unique to each person.

It could seem that the intervention of the factors in the learning processes invalidates the data obtained in the studies and investigations, instead, it yields a greater amount of information necessary before reaching any conclusion, and therefore, enunciating a theory with greater solidity. .

Throughout many years of research, different theories have emerged that try to explain the process of acquiring a language. But despite the various existing theories, some more consistent than others, it is not possible to affirm that there is one that serves to give an exact and complete explanation applicable to each particular case. These theories were elaborated in general lines.

In an attempt to respond to all the theories and results that arise as a result of research, the different and varied methods that exist today to learn a language are born. But, as happens with theories, there is no method or way of learning that can completely supply and satisfy all the needs of each person. 

After all the introduction, the most important thing is that we are clear that all people have the ability to learn any language. While this is true, it is also true that each person has different skills and abilities. So for some, learning a new language is easier and faster than others. But, in short, we can all learn new languages.

We continue talking in the next post.

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