Is Learning a New Language Harder When Older?

Old CoupleFor years, scientists have claimed that learning a language is much easier, and much more possible as a child. Not only does the child have the need to communicate, but the brain is still ‘spongy’ enough to actually soak up whatever it’s given.

This left older individuals, ones who would love to learn a language, forever stuck with what they had.

But recently, more adults are succeeding in learning a new language with just as much or near as much perfection as if they were learning as a child.

Adult learners may not have the ‘spongy brain’ of that of a child, but experience can hold key in this department. Words are more readily recognized or understood by experience. Adults also tend to grasp words more quickly rather than grammar, this tends to be opposite for children.

Often times, what really impairs the adult learner is memory loss and attention. Because of these two factors it may seem difficult or near impossible to learn a second language, but a second (or fifth!) language learned later in life can help prevent Alzheimer, as examined from researchers at the Edinburgh University.

This pushes hard against the “Critical Period Hypothesis” from the spotlight.

The Critical Period Hypothesis is the idea that language is biologically tied to age. Meaning, only at a particular stage in life is learning a language really worthwhile.

In reality, learning language as age progresses doesn’t get difficult, it changes. New pathways emerge in the brain with each new language learned, post ‘spongy-brain’. So, don’t get discouraged, start learning a new language today!

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