The term “language barrier” refers to the difficulties people or groups who natively speak different languages deal with when trying to master a new language or even just communicate effectively in their day-to-day lives.

Language barriers can be especially problematic for ELL students who are trying to learn English in Los Angeles, CA. But what exactly are these barriers? How do they occur, and are there any effective ways to deal with them?

That’s what we’ll be discussing in this article. Read on to learn more about the different types of language barriers, how they affect learning, and how to overcome them.

What are some examples of language barriers?

Language barriers can be anything from a complete inability to speak a language, to more nuanced issues that make communication difficult or impossible even if both parties have a working knowledge of the languages.

The two most commonly-encountered language barriers include:

Linguistic disabilities

Stuttering, hearing loss, dysphonia, articulation disorders, expressive language disorder, receptive language disorder, and other language disabilities can all prevent an individual from expressing themselves or understanding others. This is especially the case if they’re speaking a foreign language the disabled person isn’t particularly familiar with.


Dialects can have a huge impact on how a language is spoken, written, or even phrased in day-to-day communication. For instance, a person who has a reasonably strong command of Cantonese may still have difficulties understanding a Mandarin speaker.

How does language barrier affect learning?

Language barriers can be a considerable hurdle to students. In fact, according to a 2008 research conducted by UNESCO, more than 50% of all students who dropped out of school did not speak their school’s primary language.

The reasons for this disheartening statistic are clear. On top of all the usual challenges associated with learning a new language, the students also have to deal with language disabilities, unfamiliar dialects, and other problems.

This can often cause even older students to become frustrated, lose interest in education, and mentally distance themselves from the learning process.

What are 4 ways to overcome language barriers?

As frustrating as language barriers can be, they can be overcome through a combination of additional work on the student’s part and by making a few adjustments to the way they’re taught.

Here are 4 ways to do it:

  • If the student suffers from a linguistic disability such as stuttering, lack of hearing, receptive language disorder, etc., their best option is to attend speech and language therapy sessions. Starting as early as possible is highly advised.
  • Teachers should adjust their approach. This includes using plain language when speaking to the student, using visual methods of communication, using an efficient translation service, and not shying away from repeating a concept multiple times.
  • Getting as much exposure to the language. Watching English-language movies without dubs or subtitles, renting English-language books from Richard J. Riordan Central Library, playing online games where communication is crucial, and so on, are all great ways for a student to get as much exposure to English as possible.
  • The student should consider taking extra classes at a reputable English language school that teaches small groups (no more than 12 students), uses state-of-the-art teaching equipment, and has an optimized learning environment.

Where can I quickly learn English in Los Angeles, CA?

If you’re looking to learn English at a first-rate Los Angeles school, don’t hesitate to reach out to the College of English Language. In addition to top-of-the-line English courses taught by certified teachers, we also boast multiple schools throughout California and offer our students extracurricular activities designed to help them see the region and make friends.

Give us a call today if you’d like to enlist or ask further questions.