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A language barrier is a figurative phrase used primarily to refer to linguistic barriers to
communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...

communication
, i.e. the difficulties in communication experienced by people or groups originally speaking different
languages A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communicatio ...

languages
, or even
dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, linguistic phenomena: * One usage refers to a variety (linguis ...
s in some cases. Language barrier impedes the formation of
interpersonal relationship The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more people. Interpersonal relationships vary in their degree of intimacy or self-disclosure, but also in their duration, in t ...
and can cause misunderstandings that lead to
conflict Conflict may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Conflict'' (1936 film), an American boxing film starring John Wayne * ''Conflict'' (1938 film), a French drama film directed by Léonide Moguy * ''Conflict'' (1945 film), ...
,
frustration In psychology, frustration is a common emotional response to opposition, related to anger Anger, also known as wrath or Rage (emotion), rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a ...

frustration
, offense,
violence Violence is the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy. Other definitions are also used, such as the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations ...

violence
, hurt feelings, and wasting time, effort, money, and lives of the people.


Communication

Typically, little
communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...

communication
occurs unless one or both parties learn a new
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
, which requires an investment of much time and effort. People travelling abroad often encounter a language barrier. The people who come to a new country at an adult age, when language learning is a cumbersome process, can have particular difficulty "overcoming the language barrier". Similar difficulties occur at multinational meetings, where interpreting services can be costly, hard to obtain, and prone to error. In 1995, 24,000 of the freshmen entering the California State University system reported English was their second language; yet only 1,000 of these non-active speakers of English tested proficient in college-level English (Kahmi – Stein & Stein, 1999). Numbers such as these make it evident that it is crucial for instruction librarians to acknowledge the challenges that language can present. Clearly use of English is a key complicating factor in international students' use of an American university library. Language difficulties affect not only information-gathering skills but also help-seeking behaviors. Lack of proficiency in English can be a major concern for international students in their library use as it relates to asking for and receiving assistance. Lee (1991), herself a former international student, explains that international students tend to be acquiescent and believe that school is the one place in the English-speaking world where they should be able to compete on an equal basis. International students are receptive and strongly motivated. For international students, concerned with proper sentence structure and precise vocabulary, this alteration of words and positions can be much more baffling than it is to native English speakers. The use of synonyms, a necessity in keyword searching, is difficult to master, especially for students with limited English vocabulary (F. Jacobson, 1988). In 2012, The Rosetta Foundation declared April 19 the international
"No Language Barrier Day"
. The idea behind the day is to raise international awareness about the fact that it is not languages that represent barriers: languages should not be removed, they are not a barrier – to the contrary, they should be celebrated. It is access to translation services that is the barrier preventing communities from accessing and sharing information across languages. The annual celebration of this day aims to raise awareness about and to grow global community translation efforts. Expressions can overcome language barrier. Art of expression is beyond the barriers of language. Language barriers can also be a concern for those seeking healthcare as the patient-physician communication can be compromised. Patients unable to understand or communicate their concerns with their doctors often experience decreased quality in healthcare. These differences can be overcome via methods such as translation services or language classes for physicians (Rand, 1998).


Migration

Language barriers also influence migration. Emigrants from a country are far more likely to move to a destination country which speaks the same language as the emigrant's country. Thus, most British emigration has been to
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
,
U.S.A. The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large ...
, or
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, most Spanish emigration has been to
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic ...

Latin America
, and Portuguese emigration to
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
. Even if the destination country does not speak the emigrant's language, it is still more likely to receive immigration if it speaks a language ''related'' to that of the emigrant. The most obvious example is the great migration of Europeans to the Americas. The
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, with its dominant
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), g ...

English language
, attracted primarily immigrants from
Northern Europe Northern Europe is the northern region of Europe. Narrower definitions may describe Northern Europe as being roughly north of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, which is about 54th parallel north, 54°N, or may be based on other geographic ...
, where Germanic tongues were spoken or familiar. The most common backgrounds in the United States are German, Irish, and English, and the vast majority of Scandinavian emigrants also moved to the United States (or English-speaking Canada). Southern Europeans, such as Italians, were more likely to move to Latin American countries; today, people of Italian descent are the second-largest ethnic background in
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
,
Uruguay Uruguay (; ; pt, Uruguai), officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay ( es, República Oriental del Uruguay), is a country in South America. It shares borders with Argentina to its west and southwest and Brazil to its north and northeast; whi ...

Uruguay
, and
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
, after Spanish and (in Brazil) Portuguese, but rank fourth in the United States among European groups. In the past decade,
Romanians The Romanians ( ro, români, ; dated exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeas ...
have primarily chosen Italy and Spain as emigration destinations, with Germany, the largest Western European country, ranking a distant third.


Auxiliary languages as a solution

Since the late 1800s, auxiliary languages have been available to help overcome the language barrier. They were traditionally written or ''constructed'' by a person or group. Originally, the idea was that two people who wanted to communicate could learn an auxiliary language with little difficulty and could use this language to speak or write to each other. In the first half of the twentieth century, a second approach to auxiliary languages emerged: that there was no need to construct an auxiliary language, because the most widely spoken languages already had many words in common. These words could be developed into a simple language. People in many countries would understand this language when they read or heard it, because its words also occurred in their own languages. This approach addressed a perceived limitation of the available auxiliary languages: the need to convince others to learn them before communication could take place. The newer auxiliary languages could also be used to learn ethnic languages quickly and to better understand one's own language. Examples of traditional auxiliary languages, sometimes called ''schematic languages'', are
Esperanto Esperanto ( or ) is the world's most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a meant for communication between people from different nations ...
,
Ido Ido () is a constructed language A constructed language (sometimes called a conlang) is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in rel ...
, and
Volapük
Volapük
. Examples of the newer approach, sometimes called ''naturalistic languages'', are
Interlingua Interlingua (; ISO 639 ISO 639 is a set of standards by the International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technica ...
,
Interlingue Interlingue (; ISO 639 ISO 639 is a set of standards by the International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical s ...

Interlingue
and Latino Sine Flexione. Only Esperanto and Interlingua are widely used today, although Ido is also in use. The second approach is pushed even further by the so-called zonal languages, languages intended specifically for speakers of closely related languages. Since languages of the same family already have a certain degree of mutual intelligibility, the idea is that receptive bilingualism should allow a language based on their commonalities to be understandable without any prior learning. The most widely used example is Interslavic.


Language barrier for international students in the United States

Now, more and more students prefer to study abroad. Along other challenges of international travel, language barrier has become one of the greatest problems for international students, especially in America. Much research exists that shows the difficulties imposed by language barriers for these students, including helplessness and excess stress. Selvadurai mentioned the issue of language barriers, the dentification of classroom atmosphere, and faculty-student relationship difficulties for international students in his research, which was published in 1998. Of all the factors, he said that language is “the first barrier encountered by international students” (154). According to Chen, counseling instructor at the
University of British Columbia The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a public university, public research university with campuses near Vancouver and in Kelowna, British Columbia. Established in 1908, UBC is British Columbia's oldest university. The university ranks a ...

University of British Columbia
, not only will a language barrier cause anxiety for international students -- second language anxiety, educational stressors, and sociocultural stressors were identified by Chen as the three biggest challenges for international students (51-56). In addition, students are also likely to experience social isolation, prejudice, and discrimination, "Foreign students rank negative attitudes and a lack of cultural sensitivity among US nationals as the greatest perceived barriers to successful intergroup relations." These students often face prejudice, isolation and discrimination because of the lack of second language proficiency, which in turn causes psychological problems within these individuals. International students cite experiencing negative issues such as, "awkwardness, anxiousness, uneasiness, self-consciousness, defensiveness, suspicion, hostility, and superiority" as well as positive outcomes such as, "admiration, respectfulness, happiness, comfortableness, confidence, interest, curiosity and inspiration." There is some advice that has been discussed by scholars, to help international students ease into socially different environments. To alleviate the stress that these students experience, some scholars have suggested dealing with the problems with a positive attitude, while also advising the students to reach out for problem-solving resources, especially during their orientation period (Olivas and Li 219-220). As professor S.G. Nelson said in 1991 in his book,"''How Language is Life''", "Language is much more than a vocabulary of words. Language is how people express their feelings and show their individuality, and when different age groups are together, people of all ages must learn how to act around other groups."


Language dominance after colonisation

Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
was a British
colony In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, ...

colony
and was forced to use English. Nigerians spoke English rather than their own languages, and the use of English is rapidly spreading among the upper classes. The role of English in education is important, and English dominates the printed media. Although
Education in Nigeria Education Education is the process of facilitating , or the acquisition of , s, , morals, s, s, and personal development. Educational methods include , , , and directed . Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educator ...
uses Nigerian languages, most Nigerians are more literate in English. It is also exemplified throughout other British commonwealth or past colonised countries. It is also prevalent in the noncolonised countries that it has but with an underdeveloped economy whose education is limited and basic, such as Botswana. Other examples besides English include Portuguese in
Angola , national_anthem = "Angola Avante "Angola Avante" (, ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often r ...

Angola
and French in
Mauritius Mauritius ( ; french: Maurice, link=no ; mfe, label=Mauritian Creole Mauritian Creole or Morisien or formerly Morisyen ( mfe, kreol morisien, links=no ) is a French-based creole language spoken in Mauritius Mauritius ( ; french: ...

Mauritius
.


Other uses of term

* SIL discusses "language as a major barrier to literacy" if a speaker's language is unwritten.


Misconceptions

It is sometimes assumed that when multiple languages exist in a setting, there must therefore be multiple language barriers. Multilingual societies generally have
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
s and traditions of its members learning more than one language, an adaptation; while not entirely removing barriers of understanding, it belies the notion of impassable language barriers. For example, there are an estimated 300 different languages spoken in London alone, but members of every ethnic group on average manage to assimilate into British society and be productive members of it.


See also

*
Multilingualism Multilingualism is the use of more than one language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of t ...
*
International auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a meant for communication between people from different nations who do not share a common . An auxiliary language is primarily a . It usually takes words from widely ...


References

* [1
"language barrier"
in th
Collins English Dictionary


External links


An Interlingua website

An Esperanto website

An Ido website
{{Translation navbox Sociolinguistics Translation studies