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Learning new languages: what is the best age to learn?

Right Now Times : On the morning of autumn day, In a Spanish kindergarten north of London, and children learned both English and Spanish, parents helped their children take off their coats, while teachers greeted them with a generous face while greeting them in the morning in Spanish.

In the kindergarten courtyard, children, while playing together, confused Spanish and English.

Right Now Times : “At this age, children are not learning the language, they are acquiring it,” says Carmen Rambersad, director of kindergarten.

Perhaps this explains the ability of young people around her to be able to speak several languages ​​effortlessly, as the Spanish language for many of them is the fourth or third language. The mother tongue varies between Croatian, Hebrew, Korean and Dutch.

Right Now Times : By comparing this superior skill with the suffering of adults in non-native language classes, we may immediately conclude that it is better to start learning at a young age.

Right Now Times

Right Now Times : But recent studies have provided a more sophisticated analysis of the extent of our relationship to languages ​​as we age, and these studies carry promising results for those looking to learn the language at a later age.

In general, each age group gives us a new advantage that prepares us to learn the language.

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Children in a classroom
Right Now Times :Young children are good at picking up native accents, but different linguistic features come with age

Right Now Times : And like children, we have a better ear to receive different voices; And as kids, we can catch the original accents at amazing speed.

As adults, we have longer periods of interest and critical skills, such as literacy that allows us to constantly expand our vocabulary list, even in our native language.

Right Now Times : A wide range of factors other than aging, such as social conditions, teaching methods, and even love and friendship, can affect the number of languages ​​we speak and how proficient they are.

An elderly woman takes notes
Right Now Times : Adults were better at understanding the grammar

Make the most of your capabilities

Right Now Times : “Not all things are heading toward a countdown with age,” said Antonella Surras, professor of developmental linguistics and director of the Center for Issues of Duplication of Languages ​​at the University of Edinburgh and provides an example of what is known as “frank learning,” a language study in a semester under the supervision of a teacher who explains the rules.

A group of young students marching on campus
Right Now Times : Some researchers have found that young people have better information about the world to address new concepts

Right Now Times : “Young children are very bad at learning explicitly, because they do not have cognitive control, concentration and memory capabilities,” while Suras says, while adults are much better at it.

And she adds, “So this may be something that develops with age.”

Right Now Times : For example, a study by researchers in Israel found that adults were better at understanding the base of the artificial language and applying it to new words in the laboratory environment.

Scientists compared three separate groups; Children aged 8 years and 12 years and youth.

Right Now Times : Adults outperformed both younger groups and 12-year-olds performed better than younger ones.

This is in line with the results of a long-term study of nearly two thousand English language learners who speak Catalan-Spanish.

Adult beginners acquire language faster than younger beginners

A baby is crying
Right Now Times : Even newborns cry with an accent, simulating the words they heard while in the womb

The power of the brain of Alba for adults in youth

Right Now Times : The researchers noted in Israel that the older participants may have benefited from the skills that are gained at maturity, such as the most complex problem-solving strategies and the breadth of the language experience.

In other words, older learners tend to really know a lot about themselves and the world and can use this knowledge to process new information.

Right Now Times : And the thing that little children excel is learning implicitly. Hear and imitate the native speakers. But this type of learning takes a lot of time with native speakers.

In 2016, the Language Duplication Center prepared a report on Mandarin language lessons in primary schools.

Right Now Times : They found that one hour per week of instruction did not make much difference for children as young as five.

But just one extra half hour, and having an indigenous speaker, helped kids understand Mandarin much more difficult for adults like accents much better than adults.

Children learn the language in a new country faster than their parents
Right Now Times : When a family moves abroad, children often learn the language faster

Easy learning

Right Now Times : We all begin as natural speakers in childhood, as we can hear all the international consonants (600 letters), the silent letters of (200).

During our first year, our brains begin to specialize and harmonize the sounds we hear a lot.

Right Now Times : Infants speak their mother tongue. Even newborn babies cry with an accent, simulating the words they heard while in the wombs of their mothers.

This specialization also means getting rid of the skills that we do not need; Japanese children can easily distinguish between “l” and “r” sounds – but Japanese adults tend to have difficulty with this.

Right Now Times : There is no doubt that the early years are crucial to our language acquisition, Suras says.

Studies on abandoned or isolated children have shown that if we do not learn human speech early, we will not be able to easily compensate this later.

But the surprise here is that this stop is not the same for learning foreign languages.

Right Now Times : “The important thing to understand is that age differs with many other things,” says Daniela Trinkic, a psychologist at York University.

The lives of children are completely different from those of adults. So when we compare the language skills of children and adults, “we are not equals.”

A woman contemplates the River Thames in London
Right Now Times : Even native speakers learn about one word a day in their own language by reaching middle age

When the need to learn motivates you …

Trinkic gives an example of a family moving to a new country.

Right Now Times : Usually, children will learn the language faster than their parents. Children may feel a greater sense of urgency because language proficiency is crucial to their social existence; Make friends and feel welcome and suitable for the community in which they live.

Their parents are more likely to interact and mingle with people they understand, like their fellow immigrants.

Right Now Times : “Creating an emotional relationship is what makes you better at learning a language, in my view,” Trinkic added. Of course, adults may create such an emotional relationship, not just through love or friendship with an indigenous speaker.

A 2013 study of British adults on an Italian beginners course found that those who had difficulty learning, were getting help by communicating with other students and the teacher.

Right Now Times : “If you meet people who are like you in thinking, this increases the likelihood that you will continue to speak the language, and that you will progress, and this is the key,” Trinkic says.

An old person uses traditional tools of ink and brush to write Asian calligraphy

The process lasts a lifetime

Right Now Times : Earlier this year, a study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), based on an online test of nearly 670,000 people, found that in order to achieve knowledge of English grammar like Native English speakers, it is best to start when you are in Ten years of age, after that, this ability decreases.

However, the study also showed that we can continue to advance in languages, including our own, over time. For example, we only master our grammar around the age of thirty.

Right Now Times : This confirms a separate previous online study that showed that even native speakers learn about one word a day from their own language until they reach middle age.

Why do you learn languages at all? ?

Right Now Times : “Sometimes people ask, what is the biggest advantage of learning foreign languages?” Trinkic says.

“Will I make more money? Will I be smart? Will I stay healthy more?”

“But in reality, the biggest advantage in knowing foreign languages ​​is the ability to communicate with more people.”

Right Now Times : Trinjic herself is originally Serbian, and was able to master English only in her twenties, when moving to the United Kingdom.

She says she still makes grammatical errors, especially when she is tired or exhausted.

“But despite all of that, and this is very important, I can do wonderful things in English,” she later wrote. “I can enjoy the greatest literary works, and I can write meaningful and coherent texts of publishable quality.” In fact, the MIT has rated it English speaking.

Right Now Times : In the Spanish nursery, where teachers sing in Spanish, and the small bookstore left in the corner in the Hebrew language, it turns out that the manager herself had learned English late.

Carmen Rambersad grew up in Romania and only became fluent in English when she moved to live outside her country in her twenties. And her children are absorbed into the nursery Spanish language.

Right Now Times : But the most adventurous linguist may be her husband. Originally from Trinidad, he learned Romanian from his wife’s family, who lived near the border with Moldova.

“His romance is excellent; he speaks it with a Moldovan accent, it’s really funny,” she says.

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