Problems in Learning a Foreign Language

Learning a foreign language has its difficulties.
Learning a foreign language has its difficulties. (Image: chinese language image by peter Hires Images from

Learning a foreign language is important if you want to travel or do business around the globe. It is mandatory in many universities now to take a foreign language course. However, learning a new language comes with its own set of problems. Even the brightest of students can find the new language to be difficult and hard to understand.


Each language has its own set of grammatical rules, and they can be quite different from what a student would normally expect. In one language, the verb must come before the subject, and in another language, it is reversed. In some languages the verb does not change with the pronoun. For example, in Indonesian, the verb “to go” is the same with all pronouns, according to We go, he go, she go, they go and I go is how it would sound to a native English speaker. All verbs in Indonesia are treated this way. Although translation, drills and conversation skills are necessary in learning a foreign language, convenient and frequent grammar study is paramount to success. Without proper knowledge of the grammar, a person will surely make unintentional errors.


Pronunciation problems are one of the biggest hurdles a student faces when learning a new language. Students from different backgrounds are accustomed to their local accents, and learning a new language fluently can seem like a challenge. Student must listen carefully to the tone and way in which native speakers pronounce letters and words. Surrounding yourself with the language by speaking to natives, listening to music and watching movies will help you to hear how things should be pronounced. Never be afraid to ask a native or your teacher to speak slowly or to show you how to say something correctly. An example of a pronunciation problem is the distinction between the English R and L for the Japanese. The sounds for R and L in Japanese are pronounced as one phoneme. This makes it confusing for the Japanese when learning to speak English, says Keiichiro Sugimoto in "Topics" online magazine.

Cultural Differences

All cultures are different, and so are their respective traditions. These traditions can influence their native language and cause some confusion for non-native speakers. While learning another language, it is important to have a basic understanding of the other culture. This will help you to understand the use of idioms and phrases specific to a language and its culture. Without learning the culture behind the language you're studying, you won't be able to master it with the fluency of a native speaker.

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