Can you learn a language later in life?

You can learn a foreign language at any age. As an adult, you can learn foreign languages even faster than you learned your mother tongue as a child!

You learn foreign languages in a different way than you did your mother tongue:

  • You already understand the meaning of words and only need to learn new words for them. Think of the difference between explaining to a 4-year-old what a mortgage is and just needing to know that the Dutch word for 'mortgage' is 'hypotheek'.
  • As an adult, you can easily make connections and associations, which makes it easier to remember new words.
  • You already understand how your own grammar works, which will help you understand another language's grammar.
  • Children have a simple vocabulary. For adults, the starting point is much further ahead.

We can learn two things from children in this area:

  1. It’s okay to make mistakes. The most important thing is to speak.
  2. It’s best to learn intuitively and derive the rules from using the language instead of memorising rules and words by heart.

There are several advantages to learning a foreign language as an adult:

  • It’s great for your brain! When you learn something new, you keep your brain active. Because language is stored all over the brain, it’s extra healthy for you. Studies have shown that people who speak several languages are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
  • Speaking multiple languages is a career-booster—it makes you more attractive to employers. Most companies have numerous international contacts and actively look for employees who can speak multiple languages.
  • Speaking a language makes it easier to connect with people who speak that language. This is an advantage when it comes to things like going on holiday, especially if you like getting off the beaten path.

Adults of all ages at Regina Coeli

At Regina Coeli, we teach foreign languages to adults of all ages. How easily someone learns a language depends not so much on age but more on other factors. If you have any doubts, we can give you sound advice on how best to learn a foreign language. Feel free to contact us.

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