On answering the call to learn a language…

  • admins

    Is it really different to learn a language at different ages? What about in school vs. self-study or digital learning?

    Recently we celebrated the European Day of Languages, a day created to encourage people to learn a language at any age, through any method.

    The European Day of Languages is a call for us to learn a language beyond that which we already know and to “encourage member states to learn more languages, at any age, in and out of school.”

    What do you think?

  • @Marlene I think 13 might be a magic number, i had a friend from Italy in high school who moved over when he was about 14 speaking no English whatsoever. Within a few months who spoke grammatically perfectly, but even after a couple years he always had a slight accent. His younger sister (who was 12) had no accent. I also met a kid from Ukraine when i was in Spain who had moved to Madrid when he was 13 and he also spoke Spanish with no noticeable accent.

  • I wanted to add my two cents here briefly.
    I grew up in Austria and Germany until I was 13 years old and had school-English for three years at the Gymnasium. Then, at the age of 13, my mother moved my brother and I to the U.S. and I realised that I knew essentially nothing. Within about 4 months of going to the local high school however, I was more or less fluent, could converse and above all, spoke English without an accent (so people told me).
    My brother, not even two years older, has always kept a slight German accent when he speaks English. So, while there are many factors that play into learning a language, I do think age is pretty critical in being able to speak a language at a native level or accent-free.
    Anymore, I also think that self-study and digital learning can surpass many in-class language lessons with regard to effectiveness and efficiency in learning the intended language. Combine Lingvist with immersion and you’ll be good to go. 😉

  • @peeterluik you can change your username by clicking on your profile bubble (upper right) then "Edit my Profile" then on the left below your profile bubble there is an "Option" drop-down list where you can select "Change Username"

    Hope this fills a need !

  • I believe it's possible! Because I believe that man can do everything !

  • I'm 73 and have just begun a new language - Spanish. I'm also a language teacher, so I'll tell you what I see as different for me now. Over the years I could have bought a ticket to Lisbon with the number of times I've said to my students practice, repeat, and study regularly. Now I know for certain that this is the only way to get ahead in a new language.

    It is also equally good advice, if like me you are reviewing and extending an earlier learned language, in this case French.

    I would also suggest not thinking too hard about grammar. Practice and repeat, in the beginning is much more useful than trying to learn fine points of grammar

  • Without getting overly philosophical I would like to point out that curiosity and creativity plays a vital role in the ability to pick up a language. As we age these core assets of value tend to diminish in favor of so-called "mature" approaches to life.

    When it comes to school it is may end up becoming a forced relation between the pupil and the language in question - a bad combination.

    When it comes to self-study I guess this is where I usually excel out of curiosity and some other kinks I employ to make learning more dynamic and enjoyable.

    As for digital learning I suppose I am not knowledgeable enough, yet. When it comes to Lingvist I am slightly disappointed that I there is no double layer of words implemented to circumvent and diminish a humans ability to choose patterns over word memory. What I mean under the "double layer" is that words should have at least two sample cases split over a longer time horizon in the studying process to provide a more dynamic studying experience.

    When coming back to different ages this topic goes way beyond language learning and each brain has areas that need improvement - something that is constantly neglected by the majority based on empirical experience when interacting with people. There is something unnerving about these tendencies - let us see where this leads us as a society 🙂

    Etc. etc. in an effort to keep is short and simple.

    P.S. Please, do something about my username being my e-mail.

  • I think the motivations are different for different ages. One of the reasons I'm learning French is to exercise my brain. That certainly wasn't a priority when I was a school!

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