Learning or rather adapting to new things around us may be an innate trait in all humans. As it relates to learning a new language I strongly believe that language acquisition becomes harder after a particular age. Granted, each individual will differ from the next and as such the age at which one can easily learn a new language may differ from that of another.
Other factors play a role in the equation as well. The language and its similarities/differences from the learner’s native tongue affect how well and how fast the language can be learned by them. The time devoted to learning the language and also immersion play a role.
I have studied Spanish in school for 7 straight uninterrupted years. Do I know how to speak Spanish today? Can I translate what a Spanish speaker says? Can I write Spanish?
No. No I cannot. After 7 years of learning I still have nothing.On a side note this is where the education system needs to rethink evaluations and what they mean. For about 5 of those 7 years I passed the subject with good grades, yet I cannot speak it today. Therefore, present evaluations don’t work and they are not accurate representations of what a student is capable of.
In more recent times, learning Japanese was on my short term goal list. I had planned on learning the language over a summer. Did I?
No. No I didn’t. It wasn’t because of anything but the fact that after a few self lessons I fell off track and with no one to be accountable to it just forgot about it.
I also, after my Spanish fiasco, was of the impression that the only way I could learn a new language is if I was left in a country where it is the only language spoken. Who know, that just might be the trick.
However, I had fun learning the little Japanese that I did and I think I might pick it up again. I hope I am more diligent on this go. Applying myself should help. Writing Japanese is a whole other story! I am not sure I can handle that one yet.