Hearing the phrase ‘Cut-off all that strikes to my mind is Delhi University but guess what Scientists give us a cut-off age to learn a new language.
They say the ideal window is 2 to 13. Research claims that there are advantages to starting early as the raw brain is particularly good when it comes to LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE. Not just that, it is proposed that there is a ‘language acquisition device’ in the brain which gets switched off as you grow older. Thus, exposure to new languages at an early stage makes a big difference. It is grasped quicker and retained better.
It is avouched that after the age of 18, language-learning ability declines. And People may no longer reach the level of proficiency that native speakers have.
On the other hand, we see how we have entire industries devoted to ‘helping’ adults learn new languages ‘the easy way’ . Though there isn’t an easy way and you shouldn’t be looking for one in first place as different people have different capacities and ways to learn.
When researchers dug deep into it, it was noted that supple brains of kids are better at making new brain connections. But adult brains are better at focusing and at complex thought processes. Kids subconsciously acquire a new language whereas adults are better at conscious, systemic, learning.
However, it doesn’t begin and end with the brain. It’s not all over if our brains are set in ways we have no control over .There are other external and internal factors of course. Like the personality of the learner, their learning style , the motivating force and outside elements including the approach of teaching and access to native speakers. The 2C’s- culture and curriculum have a role to play as well.
If Kids can simply acquire the language, it is Adults who have ‘acquired skills’ . They have problem-solving and greater linguistic experience to their advantage. In other words, older learners tend to already know quite a lot about themselves and the world. They can use this knowledge to process new information.
‘A different language is a different vision of life’Federico Fellini
These words can help us fathom why adults may find it harder to pick up another language. As we age, we find it difficult to part with our good old vision, ideas, and perspectives . This may become a roadblock to all that is waiting to be explored out there. But there is a choice. There is a choice in every case for that matter except your first language. Firsts are not chosen but they lead u to the greatest of things.
All in all, different life stages give us unique edge in language learning. We need not limit ourselves at any point of age which is nothing but a number. The more motivated you are to learn the new language, the more efficient you will be! Let’s open another window to look at the world. Which window are you opening?