You probably heard that it is easier for children to learn a new language. Yes, that’s right. The golden years to learn a foreign language is at 7 or 8 years old. According to experts, children at this age can master a second language easily with fluent language and grammar. However, after this critical period, the ability to learn foreign languages gradually declines. Meanwhile, a recent study reveals the cut-off for obtaining a native-like mastery for another language is at 17.4 years.
Are you far above these so-called “golden years” and “cut-off?” No need to despair yet.
If you are really determined to learn a new language, nothing can be too hard. In fact, some studies reveal that adults might be able to outperform children in language acquisition, banking on their more rich learning experience. Here are some tips to learn a new language easier as an adult:
1 Watch TV Shows in a Different Language
When you watch your favorite anime in English subtitles, you may find yourself suddenly blurting out “arigatou gozaimasu” or “sumimazen.” Hearing fluent foreign languages at an extremely fast pace, like in television or radio shows forces your brain to synthesize the information faster. Simply put, it makes it easier to get used to the sounds, thus the spoken language.
2 Use an App
Technology has ways to make learning a new language more interesting for everyone. Try using a language-learning app from your tablet or mobile phone. Some apps offer traditional curriculums while other integrates them to fun activities and games. Other apps also have a function to set goals and schedule daily tidbits or fun facts to help digest information easier.
3 Read Familiar Books in a New Language
Are you an ultimate Potterhead who can recite lines from Harry Potter books with closed eyes? It’s time to put bookworm tendencies to use. It would be easier to learn a new language on familiar books. Try it and somehow, the translation will appear in your mind as you read.
4 Be Flexible According to Your Learning Style
This is what adults have as an advantage compared to children. Through years of studying, adults have identified a learning style more suited for them. For example, some people can memorize new knowledge faster by repeatedly writing them.
5 Practice and Repetition
Analyze, understand, practice, and repeat–this is the best pattern in learning a new language. Simply memorizing a dictionary and a grammar book would be ineffective. After acquiring the knowledge, put in into practice and repeat. If you are trying to learn French, try ordering with the language in a French restaurant or use it in the community.
6 Find a Conversation Partner
Find a good, one-on-one conversation partner, either virtually or face-to-face. This will help you evaluate what you have learned in a casual setting and review what your wrongs by letting your partner correct your words.
7 Don’t Give Up Easily From Setbacks
Language is very complex. Don’t expect to be fluent immediately like a one-in-a-million genius or a protagonist of a fiction novel. Learning a foreign language takes time… and a lot of patience. Even native speakers can forget certain words or terms once in a while so why can’t you?