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Age limit for learning languages

 
 
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 07:04 am
Would you consider there is an age limit to learn languages?
 
saab
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 07:07 am
@JoannaOV,
No, where did you get such and idea?
JoannaOV
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 07:08 am
@saab,
Could you justify your answer? What would you say about fossilization?
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 07:14 am
@JoannaOV,
JoannaOV wrote:

Would you consider there is an age limit to learn languages?

99 Rolling Eyes

saab
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 07:19 am
@JoannaOV,
It depends on if fossilization is in the beginning when you learn a language or it is part of the dialect you speak or it is a bad habit .
If it is in the beginning you usually corrcct a person who says "taller than me" instead of" taller than I"
You certainly do not do it when it is in native English speaking country as it is part of the spoken language.
There are hundreds of examples like that in every language.
There are new words - slang - coming into a language all the time.
Certain amount of these expressions only fit a teenage conversation and not at all grown ups. That certainly does not mean that older people cannot learn these words - it just means the words do not fit their language.

And do not think because you are young you are a better learner than an older person.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 07:21 am
@tsarstepan,
Sometimes I have the feeling it starts much earlier - around 15-16
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 07:39 am
@saab,
Anyone can learn a new language. It may be difficult of persons of a certain age to learn it but its not impossible as the OP implies with the wording of her question.
Ragman
 
  4  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 07:49 am
@JoannaOV,
There's no age limit; however, it is a different matter if you ask what is the optimal age..meaning the easiest age range ... to learn a language.

IMHO, from about age 5 yrs to about 25 yrs. After age 25, it gets a little harder. I'm 63 and know people who are leaning languages successfully. It just takes a little more time.

On the youngest age range, my dear friend taught her baby at age 2 to learn ASL (American Sign language). She already had a few words in her vocabulary even as she was learning to speak. By age 4, this same child was speaking Spanish (non-Spanish heritage parents).
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  3  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 08:34 am
@tsarstepan,
I once had a student way over 70 doing well.
I was sarcastic regarding the 15-16 years old all the time using a very limited vocabulary of grunts as anwers.
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 09:56 am
@saab,
Well with hindsight being 20/20, I truly wish that they had foreign language classes in elementary schools when I was young. I struggled through French classes in high school and college.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 10:16 am
The language departments in local Volkshochschulen ('folk high schools') here have special classes for seniors (Not only the language departments, since the concept of Volkshochschule is "life-long learning".)

As already said above: fossilisation has nothing to do with age.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 10:18 am
@tsarstepan,
I started with German at 10 and it was far too young for that language for not to mention the teachers.
On year later I started with English and had a very strict Irish redhaired teacher, but she was 100% fair to us kids.
Later when I started to read books in foreign languages English was easy as there are/were many good and easy to read books. Contrary to German books which were oldfashioned in style with a very obscure language. French then when I was 13 I think and I kind of never got really interested.
Italian I took up as grown up and I really liked it, but never got around to learn well enough to talk with people.

It is not how old we are, but also the reason why we learn a language and the teacher. Also we are often influenced by how interested we are in the country in which the language is spoken.

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 10:20 am
@saab,
Similar, when I was young: English with 10, Latin with 12, French with 13.

Now, they start English with four in the nursery ...
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 12:13 pm
@JoannaOV,
JoannaOV wrote:

Would you consider there is an age limit to learn languages?


Are you including the ability to speak without a foreign accent? There are certain sounds in each language, that beyond some earlier age (12 or so perhaps?) one just makes a complete mess of certain sounds.

For example, since in my time many students took their first class in Spanish at age 14, they could not learn to "trill" (rolling the tongue along the palate) the "R" in words. The word always came out sounding like an English word for many students.

Also, the inability to make certain sounds correctly acts as a shibboleth. For example, the Jewish holiday in December, Chanukah is often spelled today as Hanukah (or Hannukah), since so many Gentiles cannot make the guttural "Ch" sound that some think is the sound of spitting up phlegm. It is a common word sound in Hebrew, Arabic, and German (hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm - don't that beat all).
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 04:32 pm
I started learning French from the age of 10; French people have told me I sound "Swiss" or "Alsatian" (not like a dog!); I started Italian at the age of 45, Italians have told me I sound "French"; I started Spanish at the age of 55, and so far Spanish people say I sound English. I once read that it is practically impossible to become fluent in Basque unless you start in infancy.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 07:04 pm
@contrex,
The greatest compliment I ever got on my Spanish (which is not 100 % fluent) was from a Cuban who told me my Spanish was awful. "What's wrong with it," I asked him. "You sound just like a damned Mexican," he said. Laughing
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 8 Oct, 2013 09:28 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
On a slightly different note, a good friend of mine's American-born daughter went to medical school in Guadalajara. Attending here required that someone know a pretty good amount of Spanish. Needless to say if you're studying medicine in a Spanish speaking medical school you need to be fluent. She brushed up so well that a professor commented to her that her English was excellent. He thought she was a Mexican-native-born student.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Fri 11 Oct, 2013 08:17 pm
@JoannaOV,
Quote:
Would you consider there is an age limit to learn languages?


Yes, there most certainly is, Joanna.

The folks you've dealt with here so far aren't the sharpest tacks in the drawer.
0 Replies
 
billie-jean
 
  0  
Reply Mon 14 Oct, 2013 04:53 am
@JoannaOV,
No age limit for learning languages.. But the learning speed might vary from age to age
0 Replies
 
otclearning
 
  0  
Reply Fri 18 Oct, 2013 05:14 am
language learning, no age bar.
0 Replies
 
 

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