David is a young Ugandan who speaks almost perfect French. It is admirable to see an Anglo-Saxon native communicate without grammatical mistakes and with a pure French accent in a country where opportunities to practice the language are almost nonexistent. So I asked David how he did it and below are some of his tips.
David’s case makes us understand the importance of motivation in learning a foreign language. To succeed, David had personal motivational factors that allowed him to reach his dream of speaking French. Other motivational factors like tourism and a better career can also serve as motivation to learn French or any foreign language. For adults, it is even easier because it is possible to motivate yourself.
In addition to being motivated, it is important to set learning objectives. Those that David had set reflect the different skills required for learning: understanding of written and oral, and written and oral production and finally verbal interaction. It is these objectives that allow you to evaluate yourself and help you to re-adjust accordingly.
The challenges which learners are subjected to depend on the environment, the personality of each learner and the social, cultural and economic factors. Whatever the case, the identification of learning challenges helps one to develop strategies to overcome them which limit the possibility of abandoning training.
Each learner defines his or her own strategies to overcome their learning challenges but there is still a universal approach: to speak a language, you have to practice it. Anyone who managed to speak another language invested time in practice.
In conclusion, we say that the majority of language learners who succeed have a sense of “perfectionism”; they are never satisfied with their current results and are always looking for improvements. David expressed a tone of humility when he said, “I’m not very comfortable because I always find French difficult.”
It’s now your turn. Fill the table below to ensure successful (French) language learning.
Hervé-Boris NGATE, Psychologist/ Language and Cross-Cultural Trainer