Overcoming Cultural Obstacles in Language Learning
Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here, again, to talk about languages.
Uh, today I would like to talk about a subject that has come up. It came up in my discussion with Jeremy, uh, about Korea. And it's a subject that comes up all the time. It is this idea of cultural obstacles. When we learn a language. So, uh, remember now, if, uh, by the way I finished my a 90-Day Arabic Challenge, probably go back to either Persian or Turkish, but if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe.
If you click on the bell, you get notifications. And by all means come and join it, LingQ to learn languages. So, you know, someone once said that when we learn a language, um, we are imitating an element or a part of the culture. We're imitating parts of another culture because the language is part of French, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, whatever it might be.
It's part of that culture. Part of English speaking culture, it's part of their culture. We were trying to imitate it. We're trying to penetrate that world. And as a person who is not a native speaker of any of those languages or any language, we are an outsider. So it is obvious that we're an outsider until we are extremely fluent in the language.
And even then people identify us in many cases as, as a foreigner, we're not part of the in-group we're sort of the outgroup. And so it's all, it's difficult to be an outsider and it's natural for the in-group to kind of resist the outsider with the funny accent and has trouble saying things and is not familiar with their culture.
And, and so it's a bit of a foreign object. It's not quite something in your eye, but it can disturb. Now, conversely, there could be people who are particularly interested in you because you are different. And so you bring an element in that they don't have within their in-group. But most of the time you're an outsider trying to get in.
I always feel that the onus is on the outsider to try to get in and not to worry about whether you're accepted, whether they like you, whether or not to worry about your accent, you're...your pronunciation, not to hang back in your own culture and feel somehow that maybe your culture is "I may not be able to speak your language, but my language is better than your language" or "my culture is better."
No, to me, it's just a matter, I want to be part of your culture. Uh, I'm not coming here with my flag flying, saying, I am an English speaking Canadian, and I want to join your group. I'm just a person. And I'm interested in joining your group. I'm interested in learning your language. I'm interested in learning about your culture.
I would like you to accept me, but I understand that I'm, I'm a foreigner. I'm outside the group, so I have to try harder. And even if I sense at times, an element of rejection or resistance, or, you know, less than the welcome that I would like to have, I have to still continue because in amongst all those members, within that ingroup in any society, it can be in Japan and France...
...you know, foreigners in the United States or Canada or whatever, there will be those people who will accept you for what you are. And there will be those people who don't and that's true everywhere. And it's true in terms of your own culture in, in the way that members of your culture accept outsiders who want to come into your cultural space.
And so when you go to enter into someone else's cultural space, you just have to, you know, put your head down and charge forward and don't get easily ticked off or offended. And just keep going and you will, you'll bounce off the people who aren't so happy to have you, and you'll find the ones that are, and in doing so you'll gradually improve, improve your language skills so that they will increasingly accept you as one of them.
So that I just wanted to say that about. About this whole business of sort of cultural obstacles, you have to overcome them and not everyone is going to welcome you, but many people will. And the better you get in the language, the more welcoming they will be. So just a little note on cultural obstacles.
Bye for now.