Are schools still relevant in teaching us foreign languages in the 21st century? Let's find out together.
If you plan to learn a foreign language, you might think it’s going to be really challenging. You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about how it’s easier to learn languages as a young child, and that learning as an adult can be difficult. You might even know friends or family members who have tried to learn a foreign tongue and failed. If you’re feeling discouraged, don’t be. We’re here to cheer you up with some good news and inspire you to get started.
The amazing adult brain: why you can learn languages at any age
Scientists are always learning about the human brain, and sometimes, it takes a while for the collective consciousness to catch up to the latest data. For example, decades ago, experts believed that the brain developed during childhood and then remained that way for life. However, modern studies have since shown us that the brain has the ability to continually form new neural connections throughout adulthood. A 2010 Swedish study tested two groups of people, one in the range of age 21 through 30 and another between 65 and 80. Remarkably, they found no significant differences in neuroplasticity. In other words, this suggests that it’s possible for you to learn new things at any age.
On top of it being possible to learn languages, research also suggests that it improves the adult brain in general. In a 2012 Chinese study, experts looked at a group of adults who were learning Mandarin over a nine-month period. They found that these adults demonstrated improved integrity in their white matter, the part of the brain that allows neural cells to communicate. The better your neural cells communicate, the easier it will be for you to learn new things.
Learn a foreign language with ease: why adults may have an easier time learning
Children might be blessed with a naturally high degree of neuroplasticity, but that doesn’t mean learning is necessarily easier for them. In fact, adult brains have a number of great qualities that might actually make learning easier, especially if you take advantage of free language learning apps like Mondly.
Adults can often learn languages faster than children simply because they have experience learning in general. The concept of learning to learn might sound a bit strange at first, but it makes sense. We all have different methods of learning that work best for us as individuals and adults have been around long enough to have picked up on which of these methods might work best for them. As a grown adult, you’ve also likely completed a variety of training courses, college classes and other challenges that have engaged your mind and taught you things about yourself.
There is also what is perhaps the simplest concept of all: the fact that you’ve been practicing conversing in your own native language for decades now. Many people have the mentality that the more you practice one language, the harder it will be to learn another. This is simply untrue. The years you’ve spent using and observing your native language have actually provided a wonderful base knowledge to help you learn a language you’re currently unfamiliar with. This is especially true if your native language is English, which features words that are derived from a variety of other languages.
Free language learning: how Mondly can help you become bilingual
Not every free language learning app is the same. At Mondly, we understand that your adult brain is unique, just like every other brain on the planet. That’s why we included adaptive learning features designed to help you thrive no matter where you are in the learning process. Our app adapts as you use it to ensure you learn at your own pace. If you’re a naturally quick learner you will make fast progress as you absorb tens of new word and phrases every day.
Mondly also features native speakers, which help you learn a language with ease. Have you ever talked with a friend who has spent a great deal of time in a foreign country? Most will tell you that after spending some time there, they began picking up on the native tongue. This is because conversing and listening to native speakers has a profound effect on understanding.
Learn languages at any age. With Mondly
You’ve come a long way since you were a kid. Maybe in your teenage years you doodled and gossiped your way through high-school Spanish classes or didn’t learn much during your French classes in university. Perhaps you were a dedicated student and would now like to add a third or fourth language to your list. No matter what your story, Mondly is designed to get teach you the basic of 33 different languages in days, not years. With Mondly’s daily lessons you have the tools you need to practice free language learning on a regular basis. Get started today with Mondly, probably the best language app in the world.