Everybody has probably wondered about the best age to learn a language. In some cases, it depends on life’s opportunities as education or work promotions. In others, when parents realize which age is the best one, they persuade their kids to study it at certain age. Nevertheless, several theories have demonstrated that there is not a real age to acquire or learn a language.
In general, the key principles of Chomsky’s model of language acquisition estimated that although everyone is born with the capacity to develop and learn any language, children are able to acquire it faster than adults because of Language Acquisition Device (LAD) that is in their brain. It allows them to acquire and produce language. However, this has not been proved. Therefore, we could think children can learn easier than adults because when they communicate they express clearer than adults since they get pronunciation as an advantage. This is only one aspect of language learning process, though. Language acquisition depends on different aspects such as time of interaction when being exposed to the target language, study programs, vocabulary, and so on.
At this point, so many language students wonder about learning a language since they relate their own experiences learning other languages and the aspects of their lives they are facing. For example, if they do need to learn the language as an obligation or not. In Nueva Lengua Spanish School, students have been sending e-mails asking about age average of students to recognize if they are able to join to a group to learn with them. Certainly, there is a huge amount of young learners around 20 and 30 years old (a preferable age to travel abroad); however, there have been kids and elderly people studying Spanish successfully.
This is the case of Arthur, a sixty-years-old man who has been interested in learning Spanish since he was 31. He is a native English speaker and a beginner Spanish student. He could accomplish his dream of studying Spanish at this age because he had the money, time and options to learn whatever he wanted, on his own terms. Regarding culture, language, and the existence of established language schools, he wanted a genuine Latin American experience away from other English speakers considering that it could improve his learning process.
Nonetheless, he dealt with some challenges when learning Spanish in Colombia; constantly struggling to have the self-discipline to study daily, which he fault with. It was difficult to him to recall the mechanics of English grammar because he has never studied another language. Therefore, it was difficult to understand what the professor was presenting from a grammatical standpoint. Although it was hard at the beginning, it did not stop his desire, and he could advance in his learning process thanks to his motivation and the commitment of his teachers to focus lessons to his needs. He demonstrated he could use what he had learnt in the class when meeting Colombians and interacting with them. Lessons were focused on daily life activities and cultural activities. In addition, Arthur testified some benefits of traveling at his age. He said there is a level of financial freedom and ability to completely disengage from previous professional obligations and time constraints. He does not have to consult or compromise as a result of his personal situation.
To sum up, his experiences in Colombia have been positive. He has a dentist a doctor and acquaintances in Bogota, and he has also to complete his Spanish course. The Colombian people have been courteous, polite, and curious about him and why he is traveling alone “at his age”. Those are just some of the reasons he wishes to return to Colombia.
Do not be afraid of learning Spanish or another language at any age because it is possible since there is not a simple correlation between age and language acquisition in a different area to pronunciation. Languages are for people of all ages. So, you are invited to come to Nueva Lengua Spanish School in Colombia disregarding your age, just let us know to firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Lozano Cotes
Spanish teacher at Nueva Lengua Spanish School