People believe that youngsters have the upper hand in learning a new language more quickly than adults. But research proves that this is not always true. In fact, experts believe it is just the opposite.
Youngsters learn their native language because that’s the first essential language they need to communicate with others around them. However, when it comes to learning a foreign language, adults have far better skills than their younger counterparts.
The theories that prove otherwise
There are two theories from the 1960s that explain why youngsters are not always better at learning a new language. First, the theory of universal grammar describes how children are born with the capability to learn language rules quickly. But this ability tends to fade away as they grow older. That is why when they want to learn a second language, they can’t really focus on the syllables and words as they did while learning their native language.
For adults, it’s the other way around. Since you consciously decide to learn a new language, you tend to concentrate more on the nuances of the new words and the syllables. You are enthusiastic because you genuinely want to learn. This makes your learning faster and more efficient.
The second theory is called the critical period hypothesis. It states that as children reach the age of puberty, they lose the mechanism or the instinctive knowledge to learn the rules of a new language. On the other hand, older learners understand the value of learning a new language. Whether it is for their business or because they are going on a long vacation to a new country, it is their inner-drive that enables them to focus more on their lessons.
For example, if your London company sends you to China to stay for a few months as a project manager, you shouldn’t expect a team to fly with you to China as well. On the contrary, you need to take up Mandarin course London to become fluent in Chinese and ensure that you can communicate with the local employees.
Adults are better at self-guided learning
Self-guided learning is not limited to studying from mobile apps or library books. You can take your regular Mandarin course London classes and guide yourself to learning the language by self-motivation. Youngsters don’t take the self-guided approach, and that’s why adults find it easier to learn a foreign language.
When you come home after class, you have that urge to complete the assignments. This is an automatic behavior that plays in your mind, but that doesn’t necessarily happen to younger learners. Self-guided learning here refers to your self-interest to learn a foreign language quickly. The steps you take to accomplish that feat is what keeps you ahead of younger individuals.
Adulthood is a period where you can make your own decisions. This gives you the freedom to learn a language quicker because you are making the conscious choice to learn, and not being forced to do it as compared to youngsters where they learn something out of the need to pass a test or score higher marks.