Foreign Languages

What is Foreign Languages

A foreign language is a language not commonly spoken in the country of the speaker. However, there must be a defined distinction between foreign language and second language. It is also a language not spoken in the native country of the person referred to, i.e., a German speaker living in The Philippines can say that Filipino is a foreign language to them, or a Russian speaker living in China can say that Chinese is a foreign language to them. These two characterisations do not exhaust the possible definitions, however, and the label is occasionally applied in ways that are variously misleading or factually inaccurate.

Some children learn more than one language from birth or from a very young age then they are bilingual or multilingual. These children can be said to have two, three or more mother tongues: neither language is foreign to that child, even if one language is a foreign language for the vast majority of people in the child's birth country. For example, a child learning English from his English father and Irish at school in Ireland can speak both English and Irish, but neither is a foreign language to them. This is common in countries such as Canada and Singapore due to these countries having multiple official languages.

In general, it is believed that children have advantage to learning a foreign language over adults. However, there are studies which have shown adult students are better at foreign language learning than child students. It is because adults have pre-existing knowledge of how grammar works, and a superior ability of memorizing vocabulary.