At What Age Does Our Ability to Learn a New Language Like a Native Speaker Disappears? - Deepstash
Learning A Foreign Language

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Learning A Foreign Language

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Learning a foreign language

Learning a foreign language

Research shows that children are proficient at learning a second language up until the age of 18, roughly ten years later than earlier estimates.

It also shows that it is best to start another language by age ten if you want to achieve the grammatical ability of a native speaker.

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The decline in language learning

There are three possible reasons why the ability to learn a language decreases at 18.

  • Social changes: At 18, late teens typically graduate high school and may no longer have the time, opportunity or learning environment to study a second language.
  • Interference: The rules of a first language may interfere with the ability to learn a second language.
  • Continuing brain development: Changes in the brain that continue during the late teens and early 20s may make learning harder.

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Learning a foreign language later in life

Learning a foreign language later in life

There are many examples of people who pick up a language later in life.

Our ability to learn new vocabulary appears to remain constant, but most of us will not be able to master grammar like a native speaker.

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Learning through immersion

Research shows that people who learn via immersion are notably more fluent in a foreign language than those who are learning it in a class. If you have the choice between starting language lessons earlier or learning through immersion later, an immersion environment seems to be better.

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