Word up! Only 20% of American students learn a foreign language, while more than 90% of European students learn a second language.
If you want to interact with millions of other people, you need to consider learning a language. Yet many people hesitate. They assume that they are too old to learn a language and become a native speaker.
What is the best age to learn a new language? How can you help your child acquire skills in a second language? What are the advantages of waiting until you are old to learn another language?
Answer these questions and you can become a multilinguist in no time. Here is your quick guide.
Babies learn languages by listening to other people. They hear conversations between their parents and the adults around them. When they see a text, they hear someone reading the text out loud, which allows them to associate sounds with the words on the page.
Some babies have stronger listening skills than adults. This allows them to pick up subtle cues and distinguish between different noises.
However, the focus on listening may impede speaking and writing. A baby may imitate someone’s speech, but that speech may be incorrect, which can cause others to misunderstand the baby. It takes until a child becomes a toddler before they can understand accents and produce accurate sounds.
You can encourage your baby to learn a new language by speaking to it. You can also sign your child up for preschool or elementary school where they can learn a second language. Read more information about potential schools before you sign your child up.
As a child grows up, their attention span develops. They can read texts without their minds wandering, allowing them to improve their vocabulary.
Children who move to foreign countries may learn the native language faster than their parents. Most children go to school, hearing the native language constantly. But their parents may be working alone, so they don’t feel the urgency to learn the language.
However, parents have better social skills than children. This lets them socialize with people in the native language and pick up on dialects and slang. They also have better memories, allowing them to memorize words easier.
No one is too old to learn a second language. Adults may lose their natural abilities to pick up grammar rules. But they can use their memory to learn about the rules and retain information for years.
Many adults can set goals for themselves to learn languages. They may start learning a new language so they can interact with co-workers, and they focus on forming basic conversations. Children struggle to make goals, and they may lose the encouragement for learning a language if it’s too hard.
The Best Age to Learn a New Language
Many people are curious about what the best age to learn a new language is. In reality, you can learn a new language at any point in your life.
Babies learn languages quickly because they have terrific listening skills. A baby can reproduce the sounds they hear with little effort.
However, babies do not have strong memories, so they don’t learn vocabulary words. Children and adults are better at learning vocabulary, and adults can try out different exercises to improve their skills.
You can start learning a language today. Read terrific guides to foreign languages by following our coverage.