There is a common misconception that the older you get, the harder it is to learn a new language, but is this true?
Whilst the idea of enrolling on a language course may raise concerns such as “will I remember my muy from my mucho?”, it is often fear rather than age that stops mature students from learning a new language. In fact, a mature student is equipped with many skills their younger counterparts may not have…
As an adult we have already learned how to learn
You know what works for you and how to use particular activities for learning. For example, do you like to write things down rather than work from memory? Do you prefer to use flashcards? Another benefit that you may have is the amount of time you can devote to studying. In particular, if retirement is approaching and the children have flown the nest, it may now be possible to commit to a regular course?
Learning a language is like giving your brain a workout
Studying can literally grow your brain, as seen in the study conducted by Lund University in Sweden. Over 3 months, MRI scans of students revealed that specific sections of their brain responsible for developing new knowledge and consolidating short-term memory into long-term memory had grown in size.
Learning a new language delays the onset of dementia
The Alzheimer’s Association states that today there are over 5 million Americans living with this untreatable disease. Yet, learning another language can slow the brains ageing. Studies in India found that, on average, signs of dementia appeared four and half years later in bilinguals as compared to those who spoke only one language.
Mature students benefit socially from learning a new language
Signing up for a course or joining an online community opens the door to meeting new people and making new friendships. Sharing the same passion for a language and culture is the perfect starting point for a conversation.
So, the next time you hear someone say learning a language is more difficult with age, it’s worth remembering individuals over the age of 50 are responsible for great achievements too!
- Peter Roget invented the Thesaurus aged 73
- Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa aged 75
- Ronald Reagan entered politics aged 55
- Colonel Sanders franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken aged 62
- Even Susan Boyle thought she was too old at 47 to audition for Britain’s Got Talent…
So, it’s never too late to try something new!
Ready to start learning Spanish?
Click here to learn more about our next 5-week Taster Course – one hour a week online, offering the chance to ‘dip a toe in the water’ and see if it’s for you without making a huge commitment in money or time.