Do children really learn faster than adults?
Huntsman 15 13259 5790 53 495 43
So the other day I saw an article posted on facebook by lingq that talked about how children can learn two languages as easily as they can learn one. I read the article and at first agreed with it since it usually is thought that young children have brains like "sponges" and can easily absorb information. I mean we've all heard that at least a 1000 times, right? However, after some reflection I found that I don't really understand why people think this. Talking to my nine year old brother, I found that even after being fully immersed in English for nine years straight, going to school, learning, talking at home, he still says things like "I buyed" or "we fighted". Surely with a sponge-like brain it would be easy to pick up on such mistakes and learn to speak correctly. Not to mention a nine year old isn't capable of conversing on more complicated subjects such as politics or religion. In my case, I'm a pretty average language student and have been learning French for almost three years. I can confidently say that in the European framework of languages I am about a C1. But would a 3 year old French child be at the same level? No. Would a 6 year old French child be at the same level? No. Would even a 9 year old French child be at the same level? Probably not. So basically what I'm getting at is where does this idea that children are masters of learning languages come from? Is it just that they don't have to put as much effort into it? Is it because they acquire accents easier? In the example I gave, is nine too young? Is there a golden period of time that is better like 10 or 11? When is too late? This is just my view on it, I would like to know what Steve and others think. :)
August 2013 1