Can a new Language Be Taught to adults?

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

The short answer to that is yes, the long answer is hell yeah.



A neuroscience study at Washington University's school of medicine compared the brains of adults and kids who were equally good at performing simple words tasks (Rhyming, Stating the opposite of, stating a verb for) through an fMRI study. The study found that adults needed to use less of their brain to perform the same tasks as compared to kids. One conclusion that can be drawn from this: adults can do the same task with less effort.


Practice is the key

Linguistic capability works like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it becomes.

A number of adults who struggle with their #English #language #skills struggled with English as a kid. I am talking about non native English speakers. Having the option of learning a native language over English gave the a 'plan B' so to speak. Slowly over time the English language muscles withered.


Re-learning a language


Starting to re-learn a language can seem difficult if you start in your twenties or thirties but a major part of it is overcoming the initial fear. The second major part is sticking to it. Mastering the basics of a language is at least a 3-4 month process and the temptation to give up comes up every now and then. The third part is having a patient and knowledgeable teacher or mentor who holds your hand through the process.


Read your way into it

To be able to read for leisure in a particular language, is a hallmark of being comfortable with that language .

It is going to be hard initially. The words are not gonna make sense at times and the sentences are going to be tough to comprehend but the more you read the easier it is going to become. Getting good at reading is the pathway to getting good at reading, listening and writing. It is a slow and tedious process but if you can start with basic books and work your way up, it is going to be worth it.


Get Inspired

I will again end with a story. A story of a young boy of around 16 who moved from a village to a city for better education. He was a smart, intelligent and academically sound boy who had a history of scoring top marks in all the subjects except English. Once he moved from the village school to the city school he realized he was getting left behind because of his grades in English. Before I met the boy I believed language is a 'natural gift' that can only be learned to a certain extent. Watching that boy get to work I had little hope but I kept it to myself. I was proven wrong eventually, as the boy, with his dedication hard work and good guidance ended up scoring more than what I had scored years back in that grade.