Language learning and the mother tongue: A personal experience

Ruth Emilie Scott HAYHOE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


This paper is a personal reflection on the author's experience of language learning in different periods of her life. The contemporary debates in Hong Kong over mother tongue teaching prompted reflection on her early years with the learning of English as a mother tongue, and how this laid a basis for the effective learning of several other languages that began relatively late, on entry to secondary school at the age of fourteen. Each experience of language learning, in different conditions and at different phases of life, is described and a broad set of conclusions reached. Effective language learning is most likely when systematic and thorough teaching is provided and when there is a learning motivation that is intrinsic and linked to appreciation for the culture of the language community. It can be enhanced by a period of immersion in the language community. Copyright © 1998 New Horizons in Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-78
JournalNew Horizons in Education
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998


Hayhoe, R. E. (1998). Language learning and the mother tongue: A personal experience. New Horizons in Education, 39, 74-78.


  • Language learning
  • Mother tongue
  • 語文學習和母語:我的個人體驗


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