Is learning ENGLISH just for the YOUNG?!

for young

(photo credit http://bit.ly/1MQgkvF)

You may be surprised to know this that in fact the best time to learn English is not the same for every discipline in the language.

For example, studies have shown that in fact children are the best learners of pronunciation however teenagers and adults are much more capable of learning the language in reading, writing, and listening.  This is mainly because as a child you are acquiring all things around you, including your own language, so pronunciation (if it is taught correctly) will be picked up easily. However if you are in your teens, your spoken language is already set and you are much more willing to focus on the other aspects of learning, .e.g. reading and writing.

An interesting case in point is a child who was perhaps born in their non-native English country and was moved to a native English country before the age of 5, within 5 years, for sure they will probably speak as a native English person.  However their parents who came out with them who also had 5 years of English courses and immersion into their new English culture, will for sure speak with a strong mother language accent.

However, the actual deeper learning of the language, e.g. the grammar, the writing proficiency and the reading skills, will develop a lot faster in the adult than in the child. For obvious reasons, the adult is already proficient in their own language reading and writing skills, so has the processes already well in place in their mind. It is just a matter of learning out to transfer the skills. Whereas the child will need to learn to read and write from scratch, and of course may not reach any kind of proficiency in this area until they are in their 20s.

So actually if someone was to try to find the best age to learn a language, it would need to be around the early teenage level because they already understand how to learn to read and write, however they are still impressionable enough to get the language pronunciation clearly and strongly.

Saying all that there are people who just love languages and so can learn at any age. For me I say, if you have the passion, go for it!

Let me know what you think.

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10 thoughts on “Is learning ENGLISH just for the YOUNG?!

  1. All I can say is that I was 31 when I started learning Spanish and Catalan and I did manage to reach a pretty good level in both, but it was hard work! So there is no reason why an adult learner cannot make the same progress as a child, although the learning process does change significantly after those essential early years.

      • More importantly, I think there is nothing better for a language teacher than to return to the classroom and learn a language again. It is an eye-opening experience.

      • I absolutely agree. Being the language learner for a change is a great way to get back in touch what it is like to be on the other side of the classroom. The big thing is you understand what they need.

  2. “Saying all that there are people who just love languages and so can learn at any age. For me I say, if you have the passion, go for it!”

    I second that! I’m living the dream!

  3. Pingback: Is learning ENGLISH just for the YOUNG?! « GlobalUni

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