March 26, 2010, Newsletter Issue #73: Do Children Learn Languages Faster Than Adults?

Tip of the Week

You've probably heard that children have a natural ability to learn languages. For them it is literally child's play. This is because humans are born with special internal “wiring” in the language centers of the brain that literally drives them to learn to speak at an early age. Even infants who are born deaf still try to make talking sounds. You've probably also heard that once a child reaches a certain age, that window of opportunity to learn a second or third language closes, and as an adult it's much, much harder to pick up a new language, right? Wrong! Research shows that adults retain the hard wiring they used as children and can learn a second language surprisingly easily if they use good learning methods. In fact, in about six months an average adult can reach the same proficiency level that a child reaches in about five or six years.

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