What motivates to learn a language?
Learning a language, whether it is the mother tongue or a foreign language, is an active and motivated process on the part of the learner. What is at the origin of this approach? Here are some answers :
the desire to exist in the interaction
the desire to be recognized by the other
the wish to understand the messages that we address
the desire to express ourselves
That is why it is very important when you learn a language, to pay attention that the tools we use have a motivating aspect, that they correspond to a need, that they are generators of pleasure.
The cultural aspect
Learning a language is part of the larger framework of communication, the meeting with the other. To master a language is also to accept a way of communicating that is different from one’s own culture, it is understanding and accepting a different culture, to be open to others, to accept it with its differences. The non-openness, the non-acceptance of the difference prevent linguistic comprehension. How can I understand the meaning of words if I do not understand the meaning of what the person is living? To understand each other it is necessary that I engage in the relationship, it requires relaxing my cultural barriers.By going to the country of the language we are learning, we are confronted with the lifestyles and values of foreigners whose language we learn, in this way we can live the satisfaction of a real communication situation.
The pleasure of communicating
The natural pleasure of communicating is developed in children, every child likes to tell himself, to talk about what he lives. When learning a language, the learner sets priorities, the important thing is to be understood and to have fun to exchange. He cannot control everything at once, so in the beginning he focuses on the basics : the few fundamental rules necessary to structure a message so that it is comprehensible to the listener. It is better to evolve in learning the language at your own pace, with pleasure, not to impose a progression, which can be difficult to follow, and which can, therefore, create a sense of frustration. Do not want to learn anymore. It is important that the learning is meaningful, that it corresponds to a need : to exchange with the other, the pleasure of the relation, of the meeting. If the way he expresses himself is not a brake on communication, he does not see the point of progress.To make oneself understood by one’s interlocutor is more important than to express oneself correctly.
To acquire communication skills
Succeed in communicating is not just about having language skills. It is also developing a number of other skills needed in communication situations. When we receive information that is difficult to understand, it requires mobilizing all our resources : use our “common sense”, our knowledge of the world to “guess” the meaning of message. When we dialogue we must be able to speak, to argue, to structure a speech. When we lack knowledge of the language it is useful to know how to replace one word with another, to use gestures, mimicry, onomatopoeia, to rephrase a message received to check his understanding. It is necessary to acquire a sensitivity to other ways of thinking, knowing how to accept and respect differences, limit one’s prejudices. It is the ability to combine these different skills that ensures successful communication. All this also requires a certain capacity to take risks: the risk of facing the unknown, of facing an attitude of refusal, of being wrong or being misunderstood.