Why is learning a language easier for kids than it is for adults?



Why is learning a language easier for kids than it is for adults?

In: Other

It’s sort of a misconception that it’s easier for kids. It feels harder as an adult because you generally are still living in an environment where you’re surrounded by your native language, and just learning a new language through studying, exercises, etc. Kids learn their first language through total immersion. But think about the level of language that, say, an 8-year-old has in their native language. An adult who immerses themselves in a foreign language for eight years would not speak that language like an 8-year-old, they’d be pretty fluent.

There are several reasons for this, and some of the other commenters have good contributing reasons for this phenomenon. That said, the biggest reason kids have less trouble learning a second language is that, for the most part, kids have less hang ups around being wrong and messing up seemingly basic concepts. As adults, we tend towards the philosophy that you need to do something right or not do it. We spend so much time making sure that we got everything right that we don’t try nearly as readily or often as children. Kids will communicate whether they’re doing it properly or not. They don’t care if they conjugated that verb right or if they used the proper version of you when addressing someone from a different social rank. They’re communicating and that is enough.

This is actually something we can learn from children. As long as you can communicate at all, finding someone to help you with the grammar and pronunciation is easy. You simply have to rid yourself of that overwhelming need to “do it right”. This is especially true if you are fluent in English. There are always people willing to help you learn their native language in exchange for helping them with their English.