You may have heard these language learning claims before: “Learn a language the way you did as a child” or “mimic the way you learned your very first language”. Those of us in the language learning business see the fallacy in such arguments: learning our first language was actually quite difficult, not to mention slow! Now, thanks to technology, language learning can be fun, efficient, and fast. Technology is a game-changer, in that it allows us to add phrases to our lexicon more quickly and in a more targeted way. Why learn like a child, when adults have access to so many great tools and resources?
Well, research now suggests that adults have other advantages, aside from access to great technology. Adults are better able to understand why language is structured in the way that it is. We perform better on certain tasks, in terms of both speed and accuracy: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2011/07/study_older_students_may_learn.html Adults shouldn’t be daunted by a new language, given the natural advantages we have.
Here’s to learning like an adult!