Home > News Articles > “Learning a foreign language: five most common mistakes” (The Independent)

“Learning a foreign language: five most common mistakes” (The Independent)


At the bottom is a link to a popular article by British newspaper “The Independent” which explores the five most common mistakes people learning foreign languages make. I have summarised:


  1. Learners do not listen enough, so give yourself plenty of time to practise listening.
  2. You should be interested and curious about knowing more about the language and culture.
  3. People struggle with ambiguity. You need to accept you will not be able to understand everything immediately.
  4. Many learners suffer because they focus on one method. Multiple methods should be tried.
  5. Fear inhibits learning. Do not be afraid or pessimistic about your ability and potential.


Please give your opinion. Do you agree? What other problems and solutions do you suggest?



  1. 28/12/2012 at 12:31 AM

    If you can find a motivation to learn a language, it may make the learning process more bearable. Many of my students learn because they want to travel, they want to communicate with their new daughter in law or they’re getting a new job in a new country……When they are frustrated during their learning process, they could always remind themselves of their initial aim, so that they won’t give up easily.

    Keep up with your excellent blog. I truly enjoy it.

  2. 28/12/2012 at 11:05 PM

    Hi Janet, thanks for reading and for the encouragement, it’s very kind. I’m not qualified or a professional teacher but trying to spread the love a bit by posting free stuff on the Internet to help English learners. Always open to advice and suggestions. All the best, Chris

  3. 30/12/2012 at 6:08 PM

    Dear Chris,

    It’s your pure passion to the English language that draws my attention. I love your passion and the way you do it. You’ve added a lot of personal touch to the way to ‘teach’ English and people who come to you will feel that. This is possibly your best ‘weapon’, as you’re not a boring teaching factory and you do it your own way.

    One suggestion I would have for you is to think about your audience. Do you want to have a more defined audience? Maybe you don’t have to have one at this stage. Are you aiming at oriental or Spanish readers? People with different language backgrounds would need specific help. For example, Japanese speakers would appreciate how to pronounce ‘r’ and ‘l’, or the ‘tion’ ending. Chinese people find ‘th’ and ‘v’ sound difficult. There’re lots of ‘false friends’ between English and Spanish and it would be a fun topic too.

    I think you’ve chosen topical subjects and interesting topics, useful phrasal verbs and expressions — wonderful!!

    Just keep it up! All the best to you in the new year!

    • 31/12/2012 at 9:50 AM

      Thank you, Janet. I really appreciate that. Happy New Year to you too!

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