Many years ago when I was studying language acquisition, I learned Krashen’s theory of second language learning. It consists of five main hypotheses.  One of them is the “affective filter hypothesis”, which suggests that learner’s ability is affected negatively when they are experiencing emotions such as fear or embarrassment.

Sometimes I have the impression that my language skills are deteriorating rather than improving.  It is not a matter of aging, but rather the so-called affective filter hypothesis. I still recall that, as a child, I used to stutter when my mom scolded me. I am a grown adult but I still stutter, especially when I feel unfairly challenged. I also speak more slowly and tend to pause at the end of the sentence, as if waiting for the last word.

For me, language is deeply connected to the maternal self. The mother tongue, the mother country. How ironical that I keep wanting to go back to my mother tongue, when I used to be a foreign language teacher.


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