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Science Has This to Say On: The Best Age to Learn New Language

Want to learn a new language? Wondering what science has to say about it? Do you intend to raise bilingual kids? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to pick up a foreign tongue, but you’re worried you’re getting too old? If so, you might be wondering when learning a new language is the simplest. Despite the fact that experts have conducted substantial research on the matter, no one can agree on a single solution beyond the maxim “the earlier, the better.” this post is written to enlighten us on the best age to learn new language.

Science Has This To Say On The Best Age to Learn New Language

A new language is simpler to learn the younger you are. How come? The cause has to do with how young children acquire language and how our brains develop over time.

Our brains are wired to learn languages spontaneously and instinctively when we are young. We may infer the grammar of the language we hear around us just by listening. Children who grow up in multilingual homes can learn the grammar and vocabulary of both languages they hear, switching between them as necessary.

But as we get older, we start to lose that capacity. Most of us cease “simply knowing” grammar and start memorizing an obscure set of rules instead. Additionally, we lose the ability to quickly recognize and imitate sounds that are not found in our own tongue.

It is obvious that the formative years are a “critical phase” for language development. What does that imply for language-learning children? In an effort to pinpoint the end of the “critical period” for language learning, numerous scientific investigations have been conducted, with varying and occasionally contradictory outcomes.

670,000 individuals of various ages and nationalities were evaluated by researchers for the study to ascertain their grammatical proficiency in a second language. Before asking the participants to mark whether a sentence was grammatically correct, the researchers asked them to provide information on their age, how long they had been learning English, and the environment in which they had done so.

Of the 670,000 research participants, almost 246,000 claimed to have grown up in a home where only English was spoken. The remainder, meanwhile, spoke two or more languages. The most prevalent native languages among the participants were Russian, German, Turkish, Finnish, and Hungarian. Native English speakers weren’t allowed.

The study’s participants ranged in age from 10 years old to participants in their late 70s, with the majority being in their 20s or 30s. The information gathered allowed the researchers to draw the conclusion that while adolescent years are also a good period to acquire a new language’s grammar, childhood is the optimum time for doing so.

For instance, researchers discovered in a recent study published in May 2018 that children retain their innate capacity to learn the grammar of a new language until they are 17 or 18. To become fluent in that new language before the “critical time” ends, they must begin learning it before the age of 10.

The window of time when language learning happens naturally, however, may start to close as early as age 5-7, according to a previous study.

In contrast, a 2017 study discovered that as little as one hour of play-based training per day allowed Spanish-speaking infants between the ages of seven months and 3 years to learn both English and Spanish.

Leaving aside the research, none of this should deter adults from trying to learn a new language. You can always learn a new language, regardless of your age. However, you’ll definitely need to practice more because as you age, your brain’s capacity to adapt and change declines. Additionally, compared to someone who learns a new language as a child, you’ll probably have more difficulty with grammar and pronunciation.

It’s not all terrible news, either. Even if you learn a new language as an adult, it can help prevent dementia!

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