Age & Language-Learning

As I was looking for a limited a list of words I should go for first when learning a new language, I bumped into this interesting paragraph from this blog.

No computer program can change the fact that, for whatever reason, learning a language is hard for adults. Rosetta Stone seeks to emulate a child’s learning, but it’s possible that the brain has changed to make this much harder as an adult. In The Language Instinct, Harvard psycholinguists Steven Pinker guesses this is because learning language was evolutionarily necessary only in childhood. The brain is a metabolic hog that uses a disproportionate share of the calories we consume—it doesn’t make sense to keep around equipment, like the language-learning circuitry, that we won’t need later on.

I find it interesting that evolutionary processes have understood that a kid’s ability to learn how to communicate is vital, thus providing them with an extraordinary but vanishing disposition.

In the same fashion, earlier I was reading extensively about Lactose Intelorance, that post-teenage inability of digesting above a certain quantity of milk. Most studies suggest that you need milk as a baby and that your body can digest very well when young. But just like languages, evolutionary processes also understand that there is no reason you should be drinking milk at age 20, from your mother’s breasts of course as evolution understands… As an obvious consequence, you have a harder time digesting milk when older, because you are not supposed to have any. You’re also having a harder time learning a new language because as evolution seems to understand it, it’s not a natural thing to be speaking more languages that you needed during childhood.

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One thought on “Age & Language-Learning

  1. You should check the “basic English”, (, which I think should be applied to other languages.

    I believe adults have more difficulties to learn a language only because they don’t really take the time for it. Could you give me 1 example of an adult who is permanently surrounded by people who only speak a foreign language?

    The problem is the following: can adults afford to take the time for it? Do they want to?
    A child has no choice but to accept his situation and learn as quick as possible not to feel excluded. An adult as many other possibilities, to find people that understand English for example… Or to stay the whole day long in front of his computer.

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