What is the ideal age to learn a foreign language?

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The younger you are, the easier it is to learn a foreign language!

Learn a foreign language

Popular opinion is that children and adolescents learn faster than middle-aged adults. The brain being younger, more receptive and more adaptable. Especially for foreign languages, learning will be different according to age.

It has been proven that until the age of 6, children will learn a foreign language naturally, through interaction with others. children growing up with two parents of different nationalities and languages will learn both languages innately, listening and discussing.

The ideal age to learn a foreign language would, therefore, be around 5 years. The child is skilled enough to reproduce the sounds of the language heard. He is thus able to acquire a perfect accent in just a few months. This is almost impossible for an adult who will keep his native accent, even after several years spent speaking a second language.

Speaking a second language? Mainly pros!

However, even if learning a second language during one’s lifetime is no longer considered innate or “natural,” there are real advantages for the child.

Indeed, it is proven that the younger ones mastering two languages will show abilities in different fields:

  • Improved attention
  • Increased communicative sensitivity
  • Versatility and multi-tasking skills
  • Openness to different cultures, a greater curiosity
  • Facility to learn to read and write
  • Creativity and originality developed

Switching from one language to another is a real mental gymnastics that allows the brain to create and even slow down its aging!

Immersion in a language course

In all cases and regardless of your age, the important thing in learning a foreign language is practice. A child will tend to forget a language so quickly if he does not practice and use it in his daily life. A young person who lived his first years in the United States and then moved to a non-English speaking country may lose his or her command of English entirely over the years.

When your child learns a new language, he or she will need to adapt this learning to everyday life. It will be vital for him to listen to others speak. But also to be able to communicate to understand the usefulness and importance of his learning.

Traveling or having a foreign buddy

If you’re not ready to let your child go on a language trip, take him on a journey with you! It is the best way to open it to different cultures, to the sounds of new languages and, above all, to arouse its curiosity.

You can also encourage them to have a foreign correspondent. Today, many websites offer this type of language exchange. A simple, effective and inexpensive way to anchor language learning in everyday life. And to make your child want to make conversation in this new language.

In the end, it is not age that matters, but the willingness and curiosity to learn a new language each age has its own methodology and motivation!