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Foreign Language Learning Traits

Parents always feel proud of their children when they can learn a foreign language and use it well. However, not every child learns in the same way, so kids that go to the same class, use the same textbooks and learn from the same teacher have different results. In fact, there are certain characteristics that play an important role in making the success of the learning process.

Being Motivated 

It’s a universal truth that in order to succeed in doing anything, we need to have the motivation to achieve and to keep us moving forward. Practice makes perfect, and it’s the same for learning languages. The more you practice, the more fluent you will become in the second language.

Being Uninhibited

The good language learner is uninhibited. He or she is not afraid to speak and initiate a conversation with a teacher or a stranger. Consequently, the learner will have more opportunities to practice, because most people naturally will not start a conversation with a stranger.


Looking for Patterns in Language

The good language learner picks up a second language inductively and not deductively. I know of very few students who can use the present perfect tense correctly in speech by just memorizing the rule for its construction. The students who can use it fluently are those who observed many examples of its usage in speech and writing. They then attempted through trial and error to make original sentences using the present perfect pattern which they picked up inductively.

Being  a Good Guesser

If a student can’t understand every important word in a spoken or written sentence, he or she will attempt to guess the word from context. When doing this, he will ask his speaking partner to repeat the sentence or rephrase it, so that another educated guess can be made.

Willing to Do Anything to Get the Message Across

When a language learner is attempting to express his ideas, he will spare nothing to get his message across. This can be done by rephrasing the question or answer. Another technique is to use a lot of gestures or body language while speaking.

Attending to Meaning, Not Just Grammar

The good language learner realizes that a second language can’t be learned by only memorizing grammar rules from a book. Language is primarily intended to communicate meaning and not only be grammatically correct. For this reason. a good learner pays more attention to the meaning he or she is trying to get across rather than producing a sentence which is completely grammatically correct.

Being Self-confident

All good language learners are self-confident when using all four language skills. This self-confidence has been obtained from the encouragement of others, taking risks, and from scaffolding or the support given by teachers or target language friends.

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