Skip to content
  • Activity

Busting the language-learning myths

Updated Friday 25th October 2013

Have you ever thought about learning a language but somehow talked yourself out of doing so? Bust some myths and discover the advantages of language-learning.

To play: Select a myth, read the testimonials from our mythbusters and then listen to the 'View from the OU' (accessed from the right-hand side of the screen).

An example set of the myths to be busted on a table top Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license Select the image to start busting those language-learning myths!

Tip: If you are using a mouse, hold your pointer towards the top, bottom, left or right of the screen to navigate.

For best results, use a modern web browser. Upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer or try a free alternative like Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Image credits:

Morning table with laptop and breakfast © Nyul | Snowy mountain © Zw568 | White cliffs of Dover © Filip Fuxa | Spain map © Marcio Silva | Italy map © Marcio Silva | Backpack on the beach © Remus Grigore | Business man holding briefcase © Andres Rodriguez | Colouful map of South America © Orionna | Chennai, India map  © Pontus Edenberg | Languages books © Alfredo Ragazzoni | Paris map © Gvictoria |


For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Understanding language and learning Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: © davidf / free course icon Level 3 icon


Understanding language and learning

Learning is understood broadly as any kind of activity, whether in a formal or informal context, that enhances an individual’s knowledge or skills in one way or another. The relationship between language and learning is approached in three ways: learning a language, learning about language and learning through language. This free course, Understanding language and learning, explains and illustrates the different relationships between language and learning, and these are illustrated through videos, activities and other examples.

Free course
10 hrs
Learning a second language Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon


Learning a second language

In this free course, Learning a second language, we will consider how students learn how to make meaning through learning additional languages which could be second, third or even fourth languages. This course is likely to appeal to teachers; that is, educators of any type.

Free course
4 hrs
European Day of Languages Copyright free image Icon Copyright free: Council of Europe article icon


European Day of Languages

Happy European Day of Languages! Find out more about why we should celebrate language learning.

What makes it hard for migrants to learn the language of their new home? Creative commons image Icon CGP Grey under Creative Commons BY 4.0 license article icon


What makes it hard for migrants to learn the language of their new home?

'Why don't migrants learn English if they want to live here?' is one of those sentiments you'll have come across a lot if you've spent much time on Twitter. Maybe it's even flittered across your own mind from time to time. But, as Dr Ingrid Piller explains, just learning a language isn't as simple as that.

Language as a medium for teaching and learning Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Education & Development 

Language as a medium for teaching and learning

Are you interested in English language education? This free course, Language as a medium for teaching and learning, examines the use of language as a cultural tool which allows humans to become involved in a two-way process of constant change. The course will help those within the teaching environment to relate theoretical discussion to professional practice.

Free course
5 hrs


Languages and Employability

Learning a language, or learning how languages work, can provide a key to the global workplace. In this video a collection of employers and employees outline the benefits that language skills bring to their companies and careers. There is a lot more to language skills than just learning to speak fluently. Inter-cultural communication skills open doors to other cultures and communities, and gives you experience of the world that goes deeper than the average tourist trip.

5 mins
OpenLearn Live: August Bank Holiday Special 2015 Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Pavel Losevsky | article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OpenLearn Live: August Bank Holiday Special 2015

Not so much live, but with a great collection of free courses, things to watch and listen to, and read over the long weekend.



Language and Meaning: How We Learn

What do English language teachers in the early 21st century need to know about the relationship between language and meaning? How can teachers enable students to learn language, learn through language and learn about language in the myriad different contemporary contexts of formal and informal learning? This material is taken from The Open University course E852 Language, literacy and learning in the contemporary world.

30 mins

Education & Development 

Exploring children's difficulties with language and literacy

What happens if children aren’t making progress with language and literacy, and what sort of learning impairments might be the cause? How can the study of children’s thinking help us to understand these learning difficulties? This album offers insights into some of the problems faced by children with the developmental disorders dyslexia, poor comprehension and specific language impairment. In the main audio tracks, educators, therapists and researchers explore why children might have language and literacy difficulties, and how schools can work with psychologists to help these children develop key language and literacy skills. The interviews are introduced and contextualised by Professor David Messer of The Open University. The material forms part of The Open University course ED841 Understanding children's development and learning.

1 hr 30 mins