There are people who hate English, and you might be one of them. As a lover of languages, I wonder how it happens that people come to hate what we use to communicate. Is it because of a bad teacher, feeling inadequate, or a lack of interest? Or maybe all three?
Although any of those are legitimate reasons, the truth is that you were born a language lover. From the moment you started babbling as a baby, you were fascinated by the sounds and rhythms of language. That fascination helped you learn how to use language to communicate.
Let’s explore the importance of language to infants, what could have turned you off from a love of language, and ways to reignite that passion.
Why You Were Born a Language Lover
Infants communicate for the first few months with their bodies, cries, facial expressions, and gestures. Cooing is their first attempt to use spoken language, and babies use it to entertain or calm themselves. Over time, they observe the flow of conversations and begin to take turns with vocalizations and “listening.”
Within a few months, infants begin to vocalize, making the sounds needed to talk. Babbling is the infant’s first attempts at using consonant-vowel structures of words, such as ma-ma or da-da-da-da.
By the 10th month, most infants understand more than they can say, a concept anyone who has learned a foreign language understands. This is the receptive language stage. But if infants, or language learners, want to communicate with others, they must learn expressive language skills—the ability to talk (and later to write).
So from the moment you were born, you wanted to communicate. At first, body language and cries is what you worked with. Then came the cooing, learning to make the sounds of your language, and your first words. It was frustrating at times, but you stuck with it because you needed to be able to express yourself.
So where does the dislike of language start?
Why Do Some People Decide They Don’t Love Language?
The answer lies in the skills required to master expressive language—learning vocabulary and grammar. And those are two dreaded words for anyone frustrated in English classes.
And not everyone masters these skills easily.
It’s one thing to use words, and another thing to spell them correctly.
It’s one thing to speak possessively (the dog’s tail wagged), and another to remember to use the apostrophe.
It’s one thing to pause when speaking, and another to determine whether you need to use a comma, a period, or no punctuation at all.
Some people become frustrated and overwhelmed while learning these skills, and their love for language becomes indifference, dislike, or worse.
And overworked and underpaid teachers often don’t have the time to individualize expressive language instruction.
But as long as you wish to communicate with others, separate the negative experiences and try to remember what it was like to learn a new word, write something that accomplishes your goal, or become excited about a book you were reading.
How Can a Person Overcome Negative Experiences?
Here are several tips to help you (or someone you know) have a less negative attitude about English.
Relax when you write. Don’t focus on getting everything right. You have access to plenty of tools to help you. Consider using a tool like Quillbot that provides real time suggestions as you write. You will get better over time.
Read what you enjoy. Don’t let that voice in the back of your head say you should be reading serious literature. If you spend time scrolling through Instagram, there is no need to stop. But maybe you could follow a few individuals or groups that have more content and links to articles you might like.
Avoid crossword puzzles. Those are for a lover of language. Use other tools to build language skills and have fun with words. Games like Wordscapes (available in app stores) are relaxing, fun, and challenging without being overwhelming.
Learn another language. Duolingo (also available in app stores) is an excellent tool built on the latest practices in language learning. The lessons are bite-sized, and you can’t learn a foreign language without practicing your native tongue. Trust me on that.
Check out articles on our site that separate what is essential from what is unnecessary, such as 5 Grammar Rules You Don’t Need to Know. We also like to have fun with vocabulary, like 5 Mind Blowing Word Facts.
Leave your worst (or best) memory of learning a language in the comments.
And please, please, please like and share.
with sugar on top.