Learning a second language is easier for children, but why?

Any adult who has attempted to learn a foreign language can attest to how difficult and confusing it can be. Children are more able to learn foreign languages than adults because of neurological and socio-psychological reasons:

Unconscious way of learning

Children are born with a natural ability to absorb information. They do this unconsciously, using the deep motor area of their brain, in the same way that they learn to stand, walk and use their hands. It’s through an imitation of what they’re hearing that the child starts to understand language before they even hit the conscious learning stage.

Higher brain plasticity

Children can easily learn additional languages due to their heightened neuroplasticity, the brain’s capacity to form new neural connections and new brain cells throughout life. This means that it’s typically easier for them to memorize and recall information.

Absence of self-awareness

Another simple and obvious reason as to why children find learning languages easier is their diminished levels of self-consciousness. Because they have fewer inhibitions, they don’t fear making mistakes or mispronouncing words like older children and adults do.

Less to learn and more time to learn

It took at least 15 years of academic study to be able to communicate the way you do in your native language. Time is another one of the benefits of learning a second language at an early age. Children have time on their side. They can start small and simply work their way up to both higher levels of thought and communication at the same time.

Children are not better than adults at learning languages. They simply approach language learning differently and it feels easier to them. They have more time to learn, less to learn, fewer inhibitions, and a brain designed for language learning.

Check out these articles and studies to learn more:

TED Talk Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies

Why kids should learn a second language while they’re young
Bilingual Kidspot

OLDER VERSION

Any adult who has attempted to learn a foreign language can attest to how difficult and confusing it can be. Children are more able to learn foreign languages than adults because of neurological and socio-psychological reasons:

Unconscious way of learning

Children are born with a natural ability to absorb information. They do this unconsciously, using the deep motor area of their brain, in the same way that they learn to stand, walk and use their hands. It’s through an imitation of what they’re hearing that the child starts to understand language before they even hit the conscious learning stage.

Higher brain plasticity

Children can easily learn additional languages due to their heightened neuroplasticity, the brain’s capacity to form new neural connections and new brain cells throughout life. This means that it’s typically easier for them to memorize and recall information.

Absence of self-awareness

Another simple and obvious reason as to why children find learning languages easier is their diminished levels of self-consciousness. Because they have fewer inhibitions, they don’t fear making mistakes or mispronouncing words like older children and adults do.

Less to learn and more time to learn

It took at least 15 years of academic study to be able to communicate the way you do in your native language. Time is another one of the benefits of learning a second language at an early age. Children have time on their side. They can start small and simply work their way up to both higher levels of thought and communication at the same time.

Children are not better than adults at learning languages. They simply approach language learning differently and it feels easier to them. They have more time to learn, less to learn, fewer inhibitions, and a brain designed for language learning.

 

Check out these articles and studies to learn more:

TED Talk Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies

Why kids should learn a second language while they’re young
Bilingual Kidspot