I have had some conceptions about language learning but lately as I have been reading some more blogs and resources about that topic, I have come across some confronting ideas which brought these issues to my attention and now I am not sure which one to believe. I think it is important for everybody to think about these things and not take them for granted so, in this post, I’m going to mention both the controversial issues in language learning that I have been thinking of lately.
- Speaking early / Not beginning to speak until you are good in the language
I always took it for granted that if you are learning a language, you should begin speaking it as soon as possible. However, I have heard the argument that if you do that, you’ll learn to pronounce things incorrectly and this pronunciation is going to carry on as a habit, where the more you do it, the more you reinforce it and you’ll ruin your pronunciation forever like this (I have read a post by some guy how he has ruined his Japanese for his whole life because before he began speaking it correctly, he used to read it like an English speaker would and reinforced this incorrect pronunciation for himself). While if you wait for a few months, you get to know how the language really sounds and you get to learn some words as well, so the sounds you make are more natural (because you have heard a lot) and also you can make more of your speech (because you have more content thus you are more fluent). This argument looks quite sound to me even though I’m still not sure which path to choose.
- Getting corrected when you are speaking / Not getting corrected at all
For me it was no-brainer: ask for corrections and get corrected. It’s for your own sake. However, lately I have found some people saying that you shouldn’t do that because 1) It interferes with your fluency – you won’t be able to make long sentences because you won’t have practice in it because you’ll always be used to being interrupted 2) You won’t remember the mistake and you’ll just keep making it – I have read some teachers’ experience where they have been correcting their students for years and years and still seeing the same people make the same mistakes. 3) It annoys you and decreases your motivation to speak and to learn the language generally and motivation is one of the most important factors determining how fast and how well you’ll learn the language. Also, supposedly, you could just learn by listening to other people speak and (sub)consciously adopting their patterns of speech and thus avoid being corrected. Now, I still doubt what to do about corrections.
Although I’m not providing any answer because, I believe, research needs to be done to give them, I’m just bringing your attention to both of these issues now because I think a lot of people, just like I used to do, take this for granted and perhaps it shouldn’t be so.
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