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Friday, May 11, 2012

Why Americans Have Difficulty with Foreign Languages

Explained:
"America is a branded-identity nation, which means hearing yourself speak in not-your accent, with not-your vocabulary sounds very not-you, which is why when an American tries to speak French he feels self-conscious, but the Frenchman hearing it feels you aren't even trying. He'd be wrong, you are trying: trying not to become French."

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if this is relevant or not, but Spanish-speakers, I found (at least, spanish-speakers from Spain) are just as bad -- or worse -- than Americans in learning foreign languages. This is different from what you're talking about, but Spaniards seem to have a lot of difficulty learning foreign languages, including English. It's not just about bad students either. I tried tutoring when I lived there, but found it really difficult.

    I learned Spanish as my first language (through my parents), but I learned English almost simultaneously because I was enrolled in an American preschool. Similarly, my cousin -- five or six years old -- learned Russian through his mother (his father, my uncle, is Spanish) and Spanish through school. But, Spanish-speakers who don't learn two languages simultaneously or sufficiently close to each other seem to have a really hard time learning a foreign language later in life (and I mean equivalent to late elementary, middle school, and high school).

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