What is a successful language learner?
EVERYONE knows the stereotypes about foreigners speaking English: Scandinavians are shockingly fluent, while the Japanese lag despite years and billions of yen spent trying. Now a big new study confirms some of those stereotypes. But it holds some surprises as well.
Most of the time, they had parents who spoke two different first languages at home, and grew up as bilingual children. When I meet these people, I often feel a little jealous. I wish my parents had been bilingual, or had enrolled me in a special bilingual school—or that my hometown even had a bilingual school that I could have attended. Unfortunately, none of this happened. So, when I meet bilingual people, I not only feel a little jealous, but also a little anxious about my own language learning goals.
It seems impossible that my second language ability will ever rise to the level of a truly bilingual speaker.
There are many reasons for this: For one thing, finding the time to study and practice and continue to feel confident about my language learning is difficult. For another thing, it seems like…
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