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Barriers in learning English

Barriers in learning English
Highlights

No one can deny the prominent position of English language in global communication It is enjoying a sovereign status as the prerequisite of each and...

No one can deny the prominent position of English language in global communication. It is enjoying a sovereign status as the pre-requisite of each and every professional. But, it has its own limitations to be conquered by its learners. As English is not our mother tongue, we face many hurdles in learning it. We can overcome these hurdles by executing specific actions.

Influence of mother tongue:
Language learning involves the imitation by the learner of the sounds and Patterns used by other human beings around him. In the learning of a second language, however, the habits already acquired in connection with one’s first language come in one’s way. Each language has a different system and in foreign language learning one tends to learn and speak on the basis of the system of one’s native language. One has, therefore, to reject the influence of the mother tongue and reorganise one’s habits of listening and speaking.

Insufficient exposure
The most striking barrier in learning a second language is insufficient exposure to that language. We use to learn or to speak or to practice the second language only for a limited period i.e., in classroom. The remaining time, where we come across different natural events, our communication is carried on in our mother tongue. Hence, we have to make the time accordingly i.e., start speaking in English, wherever you are, without any inhibition.

Inability to habituate because of age factor
As the tongue of a child is so flexible, it can adopt any sound and use it immediately. And children have the tendency of repeating the new sounds & words until they get grip on them. But adults do not posses either flexibility of the tongue or the nature of repetition. That’s why they are unable to acquire the sounds of English language, as phonetics of English language is taught to them at an adult age, in Indian scenario.

Reluctance in learning new words
A child can increase its word power so rapidly that it can add a number of new words to its brain. But this tendency doesn’t exist with the elderly people. We, naturally, try to skip ourselves from learning new words. We have to come out of this disorder in order to improve our vocabulary in foreign language, so that we can achieve proficiency in the target language.

Literal translation from mother tongue to second language, which leads to errors
This is the reason for our mistakes in the second language. As every language has a different system of sounds, words or structure; we should not translate our ideas literally from our mother tongue into the second language; which leads to errors. We have to know the principles of that language and use it accordingly; so that our communication in the second language will be error free.

Lack of adequate and proper reading habits
This is another cause of poor communication in second language. Since childhood students are used to listen to the teacher, write notes and reproduce it in the exam. They don’t have an interest to read either in the classroom or at home. And they don’t practice reading themselves as they try to get only minimum marks in the second language. Hence, they don’t know how to read in turn how to speak properly because of this in-adequate reading habit.

Lack of qualified and trained teachers
It’s an undeniable fact that many private schools, except a few, in India are allowing candidates without degrees in English to teach English from kinder-garden to high school students. As a result, the language competence of most of the Indians is pitiable. In addition to that, no school is facilitating these teachers to enhance their skills and to adopt updated methodologies by attending refresher courses or any such training programmes.

Techniques for the improvement of second language

Listening to standard pronunciation is helpful to you especially when you go to higher studies abroad. And we have to listen to various types of accents, as it helps us to learn and to gather knowledge from different sources. Watch the programmes on Discovery Channel, National Geography or BBC at least for an hour. Habituate yourself to listen, to understand and to collect information.

Read more number of books, journals , newspapers and web sources in order to get different expressions and usages of the English language and new terminology, which in turn brings effectiveness both to your speech and writing.

Read editorials in the English newspapers, read it casually first time, second time with much attention by guessing the meanings of the new words according to the context. Then move to the dictionary for actual meanings. Some of your meanings may become correct. Then prepare a few sentences with those new words and then use them frequently in your conversation. These will help you to represent your ideas effectively.

And with regards to speaking, there is nothing wrong in using Indian pronunciation provided with intelligibility and proper accent i.e., clarity of speech, which makes it understandable to others. Keep on discussing several topics to get hold on the language, try to converse most of your time in that language itself. This continuous use of the language will improve your skill and confidence, there by fluency. Remember words you use in your language make you stand out from others.

Write more :- Take a standard book of grammar; try to do all the exercises in the book . It takes only a few days, and later on, apply those principles to your day - to – day speech. And also it helps you to get through all the competitive examinations with flying colors.

Write reviews of the T.V. programs, the newspaper articles and the topics you have spoken or discussed.

Use the above material to write all the major forms of writing in everyday life; like letters, essays, paragraphs, etc.

This habit helps you to develop writing skills. Like any other skill, the more you practice writing, the better you master it.

- DR K SAROJADEVI

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