Learning at Old Age
Are you ever too old for a new language to learn? Well, the good news is that you are never too old, experts say. Studies show that anyone can master a new language at any age. Currently, with all the modern technologies available on the market, it is much easier to start speaking in a foreign language now. For example, through fun and engaging games, a chatbot can teach you new words and grammar. It will also assist you with the language you want to learn with your accent. Read on in your golden years to find out why you should take up a new language.
What research says?
The older you get, the harder it is to learn to speak French like a Parisian guy. But nobody knows precisely what the cutoff point is-at what age; for example, it becomes more challenging to pick up noun-verb agreements in a new language. Researchers from three Boston-based universities found that children are fluent in learning a second language until 18, about ten years later than previous estimates, in one of the most extensive linguistic studies ever performed. This viral internet survey attracted two-thirds of a million respondents. But the study also showed that if you want to achieve the grammatical fluency of a native speaker, it is best to begin by age 10.
The researchers developed models that predicted how long it takes to become fluent in a language and the best age to start learning, based on people’s grammar scores and data on their learning of English. They concluded that the desire to learn a foreign language is greatest before the age of 18, after which there is a precipitous fall, at least grammatically. However, to become fully fluent, learning should begin before the age of 10.
Neuroplasticity and Seniors
The neuroplasticity of the brain has been blamed for giving seniors a tough time learning new language skills. It is characterized as the brain’s capacity, mainly in response to learning or injury, to shape and restructure synaptic connections. Although neuroplasticity declines as we age, a proverb stating, “you can’t teach new tricks to an old dog” can also prohibit seniors from learning a second language, far less a third.
Science can be right, but for the most part, the proverb is incorrect. Studies on neuroplasticity question the belief that seniors can not learn a new language. This unique study states that to learn new tricks, you can never be too old. However, the researchers do not dispute that it is much harder to learn new things as they grow older. However, this does not stop older people from studying French or German, or any other language.
In an interview, Albert Costa, a neuroscience professor at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, said that older people who learn a new language have an advantage over their younger peers. This is large because older individuals are armed with a more excellent vocabulary. As a result, they will be learning more vocabulary that is used in a native speaker’s arsenal.
Although this is helpful, Costa adds that learning accents is even more difficult for seniors. The good news is, there are game-like videos that will teach men and women aged 6 to 90 or over to speak their preferred new language. These games involve voiceovers that teach how to pronounce those terms to the players.
Bilingualism Improves Cognition
According to researchers at Edinburgh University, bilingualism is good for brain health. The researchers found that monolingual patients experienced dementia faster than those who spoke two languages after analyzing the medical history of 648 patients with Alzheimer’s disease in Hyderabad. Lead researcher Thomas Bak states that it helps learn a new language later in life because it helps exercise the brain.
Senior health experts agree with Bak. Every day, the brain needs exercise, and learning a new word or a new language will improve the brain structurally and functionally. It can make it more powerful and more versatile. It is also advisable to play brain games that keep the mind young. This involves puzzles with crosswords, board games, and scrabble. By constructing something, seniors can also boost their problem solving abilities. For example, if you have always wanted to create a birdhouse, starting this project will help you exercise your brain. Experts also recommend that for your regular transactions, you carry cash. A successful brain exercise is to count the changes and recall necessary mathematical computations. The brain would be better at concentrating, identifying lists, instructions, and sequences with the daily routine.
Indeed, research suggests that if they are learned during infancy, bilingual children use the same brain regions for both languages, while retaining a second language later in life hires different areas from those interested in using one’s mother tongue. And learning a foreign language, like learning to play a musical instrument, actually seems to be an excellent way to exercise and keep one’s brain safe throughout one’s life.
There are three critical hypotheses as to why learning language decreases at 18: societal changes, interference with one’s primary language, and the brain’s continued growth. Usually, children leave high school at 18 and start college or join the full-time workforce. When they do, as they did when they were younger, they may no longer have the time, ability, or learning atmosphere to study a second language. Alternatively, it is conceivable that its laws conflict with the capacity to learn a second after one master a first language. Finally, brain changes that continue throughout the late teens and early 20s can somehow make it more difficult to understand. This is not to suggest that if we are over 20, we should not learn a new language. There are several examples of individuals who later in life pick up a language, and our ability to acquire new words seems to remain constant, but most of us would not be able to master grammar like a native speaker, or possibly sound like one either.
If you wish to learn any language right from the basics or even its advanced level, Multibhashi Language Learning Sessions are an excellent solution.
Please click on the button below to know more about our online course!