Children have a natural knack for learning languages. When exposed to a new language, it is as if they are literally absorbing new words, rules and other aspects of a language. Naturally, when compared to adults kids seem like prodigies when it comes to language learning.
On the other hand, adults have to overcome the barrier of their already-adopted mother tongue and make an effort to actually learn a new language. In addition, they have to overcome certain mental borders and thoughts like:
Can I speak the language fluently if I learn it now
· Will my accent stick out
· Can I remember all the new words
· Should I have my children learn this language as well, etc.
However, adults should not be discouraged to learn a new language. It might not be as easy and you may not be able to hide your accent, but learning a new language is still a significant feat that can help you in life.
We spoke to the experts at San Diego’s College of English Language to learn more about why it’s never too late to learn a new foreign language.
Modify Then Exceed Your Expectations
You may not be able to develop a natural, native accent if you start learning a language late. But does anyone care? Don’t be so obsessed with fluency, as it definitely doesn’t have the same weight to different people. Learning a foreign language is not about trying to sound like a native, it’s about successfully communicating with one. Therefore, don’t be so hard on yourself right from the get-go.
According to the teachers at the aforementioned English school for foreigners in San Diego, if you adjust your expectations, you’ll find that you can easily exceed them. You don’t have to talk like a native in order to successfully communicate with them. By setting reasonable, attainable goals you’ll feel good about yourself and discover that learning a language is much easier than you expected.
Learning A Language Is A Goal You Set For Yourself
While it might be true that children are more prone to learning a language, a typical high school student does not enroll in an Italian class because they want to. In most cases, they are forced to pick a second language at school.
On the other hand, an adult chooses to learn a language because it’s what they want. You invest your time and money in learning a new language, which means you are more dedicated and driven than a high school student, and therefore have much better chances of actually learning a language for the rest of your life
You Have Financial Stability
Another advantage adults have over children is financial stability. You are free to invest in your learning and do whatever it takes to learn a language. This often means you’re free to book a trip to Italy and learn a language on site. It’s no secret that communicating with native speakers improves your odds of learning a new language. This can be a gift to yourself and a motivation to keep learning.
You Have A Better Perspective On Life
Again, one thing adults have that children don’t is perspective. You know that life is all about the journey, and learning a new language is a great way to spice up that journey. Learning a new language is more about learning how to speak. It’s about gaining insight into a new culture, meeting new people and hearing new stories.
Learning a language is a key to those experiences, not a way to get a better grade. And you don’t have to learn the language perfectly in order to enjoy all those benefits right away.