Does age matter when it comes to learning languages?

Today I want to bring up a topic that everyone who intend to learn a language have wondered any time in their lives. The popular belief is that the younger you are, the better and faster you will learn the language. Is it wrong? not completely. Let´s compare both situations:

Advantages of learning a language as a child:

  • Ear and brain: Studies have shown that the plasticity of the brain in babies and toddlers is so much higher than in adults. What does it mean? It means that their brains are able to adapt more easily to new sounds and patterns so that´s why a person just can become bilingual if s/he learns both languages as a child (this is just my opinion).

  • Shyness: Children do make mistakes and they don´t care at all. And that´s how it should be. We, adults, are so frightened to make mistakes that most of the time won´t speak a word in order not to look silly.

Advantages of learning a language as an adult:

  • Work capacity: when a disciplined, hard-working adult sets a goal, there is nothing that can stop him/her. I´ve heard that some polyglots claim that they learnt a language like Chinese from scratch to fluency in just a couple of years and I really believe them. No matter how difficult a task is, where there is a will there is a way.

  • Experience: a very important point when it comes to learning is experience. The more languages you’ve learnt, the easier it gets to learn a new one.

As you can see, it is great if you can start learning languages at an early age but have no worries if you are already 30, 50 or 90. There’s no limit when it comes to the learning age. What really matters is motivation! But we will talk about that another time.

I hope you found this post useful.

See you soon!

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