dyslexia and language learning

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hi guys and welcome back to my channel

so in today's video we are doing another

dyslexic video today we're gonna discuss

like relationship between the SELEX ear

and how it effects our ability to learn

languages for those of you who don't

know I am dyslexic I also speak English

Flemish and French Flemish is my mother

tongue English I learned h4 when my

parents just sent us to school without

learning go out of English in French

I've been learning since I was about 10

I'm now 20 so good without saying that

dyslexia makes learning languages

incredibly challenging dyslexia

influences how we are able to read

processing word retrieval so trying to

learn language with that it requires

these kind of skills a lot and there's a

bond we very much specifically struggle

with the most I think so this video I'm

going to discuss how the fact is how it

makes it hard to learn languages and the

things we can essentially should do in

order to make it easier for ourselves

I'm hungry and convinced that I am more

selective in some languages than others

when it comes to reading when it comes

to processing I think I'm more psychic

in Flemish that I am in French and I

think sort of English might actually

just be in the middle and i 100% think

this is to do with what it looks like

when it's written down and dyslexic have

a lot of problems of trying to read it

just it's so difficult seeing things

written down it's incredibly like fuzzy

static it's just really hard and I think

reading like Flemish is a lot harder

then say French because Flemish has a

lot more like eyes J's K's ends W's and

those lions

I think the Lions make it very difficult

to read for example font type certain

you sort of will make it more or less

easier for me to read so then I think

having a language that has lots more

like lines and stuff like that it's very

very confusing for my brain which that

means I think we're French because it

has a lot more vowels even though it has

accents I think it makes it easier for

me to read it because it's just it's a

lot more of a curves make it so much

easier for my brain to process because

it's not like interfering in the same

way it's so confusing to try and like

describe but I definitely think that

plays a part so I definitely think I'm

like you can be more dyslexic depending

on the language you're learning which

there might depending the language you

speak might may even make it harder

harder feel dyslexia to be spotted

because like the main symptoms you'll

get through try

read or trying to say something out loud

it definitely definitely plays a factor

but when it comes lying language I think

that element is certainly like almost

did almost dyslexia that's most

superficial being like oh you're

dyslexic you just can't read and spell

which is there like the most well note

sort of things from it I guess you can

inside have a very very easy then it

becomes a problem when you're trying to

learn language I can't smile in English

alone Dutch or French it it's very

difficult so then I get really paranoid

when I'm trying to do an exam because

while I'm writing in English may take

into account that I can't spell but then

when I'm doing a language exam how are

you supposed to take into account that I

can't spell because then that's part of

my ultimate mark uh you can see the

frustration I just I get very frustrated

because I don't stand how you can take

dyslexia into account when you know

mocking a language exam it's funny

because I think when you're trying to

learn a language I feel like my dyslexia

is almost amplified I feel more aware of

it than in any other kind of subject

like I know that is the problem and it's

so frustrating being like if I didn't

have this I'd be so much better at this

it's just very it's incredibly

frustrating it feels so and far as well

in this country it's quite difficult to

learn a language because they're not

very well in all honesty and then trying

to prove that I can do this language but

now I've suffered so hard to try and

learn it's even more difficult

essentially this video is born out of

the massive meltdown I had the other day

I've just finished officially finished

my second year of university because I

had my last French exam it was a written

exam so for my exams my paper is a

different color and I get 25% extra time

and I didn't finish my exam I just

physically couldn't finish it in time

because my brain has spent so much more

time trying to process everything I

don't think that just giving somebody 25

second extra time is going to amend for

the fact that they are learning a

language with a learning disability like

dyslexia a different colored piece of

paper and 25-cent extra time is not

going to help me in this situation

ah and I got so frustrated because I

could do it I knew the French I can

speak French like I knew the grammar I

knew really well and I don't know

verb tenses you know I missed my dad was

testing me on it my mom had been testing

me on it like I could do it they knew I

could do it I knew I could do it but the

only person who's not gonna know that I

can speak French is the examiner and

also I just got really frustrated

because I'm worried about it like

jeopardizing my entire mark for this

year University like bringing my average

down so just like literally I was

walking to the station to get the shoot

back I was trying to cry I couldn't

finish PSA I had to write at the end I

didn't finish a conclusion I couldn't

proofread anything so I can check

anything for stupid mistakes so he's

just so upset so the first thing I did

was email my teaching me like help and

she said that like my dyslexia because I

have a sticker on my exams as I am slack

sick so I'm just really curious as to

how suppose it'd be might as X you'll be

taken into account when it's being

mocked because I just find it really

difficult in that like it's the language

how can you I have to be able to spell

this correctly so how can you like it

kind of feels like you they'd let me cut

corners if that makes sense because I'm

just like sick and that's not that does

not what I want to let them let me do if

that makes sense because I don't think

that's fair for me either but it's just

it's so frustrating it's like okay how

are they going to mark this with my

dyslexia in mind it makes a lot more

sense for non language learning modules

to mark me with my texture and my being

like oh you know don't mind American

Spelling's don't mind us phonetics

substitution it's fine but with the

language the whole point is of a

language not my ideas I'm necessarily

putting in like you would a normal essay

that was my meltdown and like the first

things I was just like texting my

parents about how it gone I just I told

them I couldn't finish it the one thing

I kept saying over and over again was

just how I found it so unfair how the

fact that I am dyslexic

it's the reason that I don't think I did

as well in this exam as I could have

done otherwise and how I just found it's

so unfair that it's so unfair that I

will put in the same amount of work of

someone else but I will not get the same

results like I will put in more work of

another people and I still won't get the

same results so I just ah just find it

bitterly unfair but it's stupid because

I know I can do it and usually if I'm

writing something I'm not gonna have the

same time pressure that I would in an


and I would be able to proofread and I'd

have a spell checker but it just oh I

made me so angry learning a foreign

language in the English school system is

notoriously difficult they're just very

very bad at teaching languages and I can

say this because I'm Belgian I do know


my parents have told me how they used to

have six hours of French a week and I

think was just like in primary school

anything maybe in like middle school

that in Belgium you have like a middle

school my cousin speaks incredible

English and I know he's learnt it

entirely through school like his English

is like way better than my French is

continent teachers language is so much

better than the UK does most Europeans

speak two languages I speak three for

fucksakes but two of those I learn as a


thanks mom and dad and of course wanting

to their language then in the scenario

is really difficult for GCSE I add one

hour of French every other week I did

two languages fair enough but one hour

of language every other week is not good

enough the fact that this country

doesn't seem to prioritize languages the

way other places do any speaks volumes

as to how its outlook to the rest of

Europe and the world is but also it's

dumb we all know that languages

makes more employable so I just can't

understand why the school system

wouldn't put more of an emphasis on it

especially because there's this idea of

it still exists but oh everybody speaks


not everyone bloody speaks English my

grandparents are a wonderful example of

that know me my granddad you know he

tries the main problem I think is the

way they teach you and obviously the

frequency with which they teach you

personally think they should teach

almost in a way of like how you learned

languages as a child I'll explain more

of that later but my main points are

dyslexics are very very visual languages

are visual and then the only

visual aspect about them really you know

reading it one thing my brain

can't do I just can't read very well

it's so infuriating so then the one

thing the one time I can like use my

eyes when I say to help for

example with French friend just really

hard and because of the fact that like

how it is spelt as not how it sounds and

my brain has find it so hard to cope

with that and I'm just like how to learn

every like thing individually rather


like being okay I got this this is fine

if I try to like read French out loud

not as much anymore obviously but I

would literally sound broken when I try

to read it

I like Jahi demoralizing that that is to

read try and read a foreign language out

loud in a classroom of people and you

kind of you know you're doing it wrong

and then like everyone laughs at you and

it's oh Christ it's so demoralizing it's

horrible because you you sound stupid

you do you literally sound stupid and

that might not be even me the case

chances you can give a language about

having so many people in that

class but you just sound dumb

because you said something wrong it is

so it's emotionally painful really one

of the module I did this year was had

some Italian in it I had their

translation in the original so he was

trying to read the bits of it and my mom

speaks Italian so I was sat with her

trying to like read it I I really did

sound like just completely broken I

could see my mom getting quite

frustrated with it almost she certainly

didn't mean it but when I was trying to

sound out say out she would almost rush

ahead to show me how it was said rather

than letting me try and figure it out on

my own and this was this year so you can

see but it's not something just if you

like your child can't do it said for a

doll gonna be able to do it for a while

because I've never really done Italian

at all so just so weird feeling like I'd

been reduced back to that little kid

trying to learn French for the first

time it was the same kind of feeling

knowing that it wasn't just something I

got better at it was language specific

which is a very that was a really odd

experience that kind of eye-opening

knowing that it is to do with how I

forget with the language rather than

just how I've progressed as a person I

really think you need to teach to select

six a language the way you teach a child

to learn the language especially if it

is a dyslexic child you shouldn't sit

them down and try and do very Cutlass I

could never spell a new spelling list

anyway even English and I really think

you have to teach it other language from

very very early on personally I think it

should be mandatory in primary schools

like the moment they get in there they

are taught to language never really

never mind what language it is learning

a language changes the way your brain

works as well so I just it's something

very important to me and something I

know I would do with my own children

just have them start learning another

language from the moment

kind of speak maybe English then maybe

they can start learning a different

language but it's something I think it's

so important like if my parents hadn't

taught me Dutch and then English I don't

think I would believe that I was capable

of learning another language genuinely

so I can understand that kids who

haven't had the opportunity I have

dyslexic kids would easily give up in

trying and I don't think I would have

bothered it's funny teaching kids

languages it just has to be

multi-sensory and it's incredible the

times I have been taught like that

because I remember it so well

I remember in primary school I think

mrs. our last year of preschool we had

to draw a map of like a French town and

I remember during la plage no man but

there's a feel and I still remember that

I can actually see the thing we drew

like it's if you teach a child like that

with the image and the thing that works

so so much about it because we do that

when we're teaching them English why the

hell wouldn't we do that when you teach

from them another language because I can

understand that like you very bit all do

you think oh you know that they're two

walls for this it might be a bit

condescending but honestly it helps and

is the most efficient way that I have at

least learn languages another time that

I remember was I was you know mom and I

were cooking and she was trying to teach

me I needed to find something I need

know where something was for that it was

assertive and the fact that she attached

a physical action but I had to do to the

French I could do it and I've learned it

and it's still in my head and there was

times that we were reading nobody class

there's a bit in it where the snakes are

trying to eat someone and I learnt the

word a valley which is to swallow and

it's okay no one is useless but like the

reason I remember that is because I have

the image in my head of the snake trying

to eat someone someone something like

because you attach something visual to

the word my brain can understand it

seeing just lettuce means nothing to me

giving me a vocab list means fuck-all

it's so frustrating because you try

really hard but you're actually you're

not learning the word you're almost

letting the pattern that it appears in

or you're learning you just you don't

actually remember the words but it's so

difficult to try and retrieve it out of

the context of the word list it doesn't

really mean anything to me if it's just

written down if it's just letters really

it's just a bunch of squiggles the

I don't understand my brain just doesn't

understand it you can tell me a hundred

times that it means this but if I can't

see feel anything like that it goes in

one ear and it goes out the other I've

literally sat down to what learn worth

maybe 20 times I've learnt them but then

every time I come back to it it's like

I've never seen a fool it's incredibly

frustrating any kind of connective or

conjunction like I just can't do it

I went through my French notebook in

preparing for my exam and I had the word

I'll see and there may be five times

clearly I thought I'd never seen it

before if I felt the need to put it in

there that many times and yes now I know

it means thus but by God did it take me

a long time to realize up it's because

it doesn't like it's because it doesn't

attach to any kind of physical thing and

because it's so abstract my brain just

can't understand it for example with

verbs even though some verbs you have an

action attached to it to be doesn't

really it's like that your eyes sophist

ratings like I've sat down and learn

verbs and just so many times but you

know how awful it feels to sit there and

know you've learned this to know how

many times you've learnt this and to not

know it it's literally painful like it's

actually painful and also like when

you're trying to learn and like you can

tell that people in your class know you

can't do it and almost like lets them

feel superior to you because in the most

basic things you can't do it you can

Excel other things but in the most basic

things like pronouncing something or

what does this word mean that you've

been taught five times it can be just so

oh it's awful thank you my worst

experience in class ever was when I was

doing my a-levels when there was a word

our teacher asked just like do you know

what this word means

nobody knew it but I did I think it was

some like button or v desc their words i

pair in flemish so i knew them because

they were the same and one of the police

turned around to me and goes how do you

know that huh emotionally traumatized

just a bit Oh make me so angry like for

starters how can you be such an arrogant

prick I mean I already knew that people

thought I was done but I didn't need

that confirmation like that you know

because like trust me I'm trying

like go away

as a dyslexic learning a language you

just have to put so much more work in

but you also don't try nother language

the way everyone else does especially in

English system like the English system

is not very good for teaching languages

you have to just try and find different

ways if you watch a YouTube video in

French or something you can have the

captions and seeing somebody speak

having the subtitles in your target


it's so it helps so much because when

you see how it's spelt but how it's

supposed to be said and having that

together I think is so incredibly useful

trying to engage like in as much culture

as you can trying to speak and have

conversations with people I think it's

the best way for like not to show

yourself up about it but to let yourself

know that you can do this a glass of

wine certainly helps my French improves

dramatically what I'm a bit tipsy mainly

because it's a confidence issue I think

I have because of my dyslexia and

because of how difficult it has always

made learning language my confidence in

my French is non-existent like if I feel

like I've been put on the spot to speak

it I won't say a word I will say the bad

minimum because I am so scared of

getting it wrong and people thinking I'm

stupid and laughing at me sometimes

we've been in France and like you know

when Frank's been edging me on to speak

French but like oops I can't do that and

I was having anxiety so that doesn't

help but the times I've gone to a shop

and I've spoken French to the person

without anyone there I've been told that

I speak great French by a French person

oh it's giving yourself a chance and the

freedom to learn it without anyone like

watching you and waiting almost it kind

of felt like people are almost waiting

for me to up ah and I think it's

important about this system in the UK at

least and try to learn language of it

realizing that you have to provide more

support to your dyslexic students then

giving them a different bit of colored

paper than giving them extra time

because those two things as I said they

do not compensate for how difficult

learning a language other dyslexic is I

think the root of the problem is how are

your taught languages and really I think

in this country is something that

actually needs to be completely changed

or reformed it makes it makes it

difficult for kids who don't have

dyslexia and that speaks volumes for

example when I was learning French

the way part of our exam was done was

that we had to do a writing we had to go

in and we had to write a bit of French

under exact conditions you know if

that's normal I can do that that's

something I did in my exam today you see

see essentially what we did was we were

told okay write a paragraph you know

stick as many French you know grammar

structures in as you can have somebody

check it now you need to memorize it go

into an exam and then write it out again

I remember how shocked and in all we

were when one of the girls in my year

her sister apparently would just go in

and just write it just there and then

she wouldn't learn anything she I

remember how shocked and how amazing we

were all were by that as far as I'm

aware I think she went on to do like

French and German a-levels like she was

very good at languages but I remember

how shocked we all well that's what the

exam was supposed to be like essentially

you're getting dyslexic a memory task in

a foreign language do you see where this

is going to go her end ously wrong and I

remember how angry and upset I would get

that I couldn't learn it I couldn't even

write it and then I couldn't learn it I

know how much my mum had to help me it's

a combination of like how what the exam

one expects is not correlated at all so

what our teachers know we can do so I

think I needs to change done on

boyfriends teachers to be able to

spontaneously I French because otherwise

what's the point and then the example

clearly like if that's not possible

needs to change expectations it's like

the expectation and reality of what what

teaching a language in this system is is

then completely like that doesn't work

together so something has to change

maybe it's just a commentary on how my

school taught languages but I know that

everyone else I've spoken to you has

loved them is like oh yeah English

system not so great my Europeans on the

other hand you are so lucky you are so

lucky and I know that so many of you as

well do watch my videos to try and

improve your English so I have such

respect for that and I'm like for

sake what I all the countries I had to

learn a language in it has to be at this

one didn't it I mean like I said if I

haven't already been able to speak two

languages I didn't think I would have

believes that I could try and speak 1/3

I'm having

that the kind of person I am I am

incredibly driven I can be incredibly

stubborn with some things and languages

is certainly one with my French I had

something to prove

it's like I'm proving to myself that by

persevering and going and even doing

this university for God's sakes that I

can do this but languages are something

that I am capable of even if my brain

does not agree with them very well just

cuz it's something naturally and I may

be not very good at does not mean that I

cannot be good at it my friend should

have had at university this year when I

told her like hey I'm Dyslexic I might

be a bit too have a bit of trouble with

some of these things

she was so understanding it's just like

yeah just anything just like tell me

just let me know it's anything I can do

but you want me to do for you it's

completely fine and honestly that's

shock to me because I don't think I've

ever had a teacher be that understanding

and also you know saying you know I can

help isn't anything I can do it's like

it validated the fact that my dyslexia

made learning language is more difficult

and that for once you know I'm not

feeling stupid because of it it's like

she understood that it's not but I'm

being lazy or that I can't do it it's

that I just need a bit more time I don't

want to say I'm so glad she did that

because hey make me like like her

Laura's the teacher but also it made me

feel almost safe if that makes sense

like the somebody understood and that it

meant that I would be okay and could

learn on my own pace the British

dyslexia Association has a bit of like

info on the website especially about

languages dyslexic learners are likely

to experience difficulties in a range of

areas including speed of information

processing word retrieval and short term


successful language learning is likely

to be dependent as much on the teachers

personality and teaching methods and the

perceive relevance of their language as

on the actual choice of language so

people you know acknowledge about

learning like which is hard but I don't

think that's implemented enough in the

school system to try and help us should

I make it easier for us because if we're

there we probably really do want to

learn and the fact is I don't think it's

bad that a child should feel like they

can't do this and have to give up the

opportunity of learning a language

because the system in which we learn it

and aren't learning disability makes it


that was an intense video okay so I

think my dyslexia makes learning

languages so hard but I'm so proud of

myself that I've kept going and that you

know I can speak French I need to keep

telling myself like I'm not just a cake

French I can speak French and just you

know constantly trying to find new ways

that work for me in terms of learning

and if you're struggling with the

language and you're dyslexic cut

yourself some slack I promise you it's

not your fault that you're not stupid

you can do this it just will take you a

lot more time a lot more effort but you

can get there is absolutely no reason

that you're not capable of learning our

language if that is something you want

to do you are able to do it I also have

a video on how I actually learn French

and I will link that down below or if

they're for you it was out something

what also interests you but yeah guys

I'm going to leave this video here I'm

uploading videos every Tuesday Thursday

and Sunday I hope you enjoyed this video

leave me your thoughts down below yeah

thank you for watching

Bridget is like series 8 there of a

British person

the British dyslexia so she isn't that