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Do People Learn More Effectively in Their Native Language?

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The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.

English is used by a lot of people in many countries; it is the default language used in international trade. Consequently, with companies spreading globally, English became the accepted language for training a global workforce. However, it has been found that people learn better through their native language and the reasons stated are varied. I will touch upon some of them here.

Emotional Connectivity: Usually children learn their mother tongue by interacting with parents and surroundings. The relationship with the native language is formed right from childhood; individuals have a certain amount of emotional connectivity with that language. In a linguistic study it is seen that people learn quickly, absorb knowledge at a higher rate when it is in native language as compared to a foreign language.

Authoritative Anchors: Due to the emotional connectivity of persons with their native language, it has been noted that people associate the message delivered in that language to an authoritative source. Moreover, the strong roots of knowledge stored in an individual’s brain right from childhood are usually in the native language. Hence it becomes easy to retrieve his existing knowledge and build on the existing knowledge with new learning concepts.

Receptive Capacity: An expert linguist stated that children have a congenital capacity to learn the language quickly. The main reason could be because the memory power and the intelligent quotient for a child is high when compared to that of adults. Adults learn English or any foreign language for professional reasons. It is often seen that they find it difficult to memorize rules related to grammar, pronunciation etc.. They can learn it over a period of time with practice but the comfort level may not be as good as it is in the case with mother tongue.

Variations in Speed and Dialects: The way Asians speak English is different from the way Australians speak the language. Asians use a slower pace whereas Australians use a faster one. Even in Asia, Indians use more of English, whereas Chinese and Japanese prefer to use their native languages. The usage of accent is different for American and British English. So, despite the language being the same, there are chances of misinterpretation of meanings.

A company with a global work force may not have employees with equal level of competency in English – they may have varying degree of command on spoken and written language – not to speak of diversity in terms of accent. Competency and comprehension of English is not the same everywhere. On the other hand, native language provides emotional connect to the learner and is likely to be a motivating factor to be more open to learning for the sheer ease with which it can be done. Therefore, it’s always better to use training in local language as it results in better and effective learning.

Quote: “If you talk to man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

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  • Christina

    I agree but when you try more, you are definitely more fluent. Although we aren’t native, we can apply many effective methods to learn. In my experience, I use Superflashcard to learn English. It provides a wide range of vocab topics. From these flashcards I could learn even pronunciation and sentence. I know use English more confidently .