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Aroosa Mushtaq Malik

Muhammad Afzaal
1st October 2015
Problems Faced by Second Language Learners
Learners, while learning a new language, apply knowledge from their native
language to learn a second language. While this can help in understanding and using the
target language, this can also hinder the proper internalization of the target language
rules, producing errors of syntax, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Following are a number
of problems faced by learners of the second language:

Learners pronounce certain sounds incorrectly or with difficulty as a result of the

difference in phonological systems.

They confuse vocabulary items because they are misled by others (i.e. words or
phrases that look or sound similar in both the mother tongue and the target
language, but differ significantly in meaning.)

Learners try to transfer their cultural knowledge to make assumption when

communicating in the target language.
Learners have difficulty in maintain pace while reading as they concentrate on
pronouncing one word at a time instead of learning how to group them together.

There are 26 letters in English that have 44 sounds. Learners are not always aware
of that so they pronounce a word with a single sound that they associate with the

Lack of curiosity on part of the learner can also hinder in the learning of the
second language.

Linguists have found that students with a low tolerance of ambiguity tend to

struggle with language learning.

Relying on only a single method of learning is not always helpful. Some learners
are comfortable with using a dictionary for every word and some are more
comfortable in understanding the meaning through the context of the text. But this
is not always helpful. Therefore, learners should practice learning through
different methods.

One of the key hindrances of language learning is Fear of embarrassment in case

of making a mistake. Learners do not realize that it is through mistakes that they
would be able to correct themselves.

Learners also face problems due to their ages. Children pick up a new language
more quickly than older people.

The attitude and motivation of a learner counts a lot in learning a new language.
Lack of them results in poor learning.

The similarity or difference between a home language and a second language

matters as well. If there are huge differences then it is not always easy to acquire
understanding of the second language.

Lack of paternal involvement or support in case of children learning a new

language is also a cause for a problem for a learner.

Language is a social process. Lack of second languages usage in a social

environment can lead to hindrances in its learning and application.

Language is learned best when it is used for a purpose. When a learner does not
see any purpose of acquiring a new language, they do not give their full attention
and commitment to its learning.