Learning a New Language

Young vs Old, Proficiency, and Already Knowing a Language

Is it easier to learn a language when you are younger or older?

The best time to learn a language is between age two and puberty. Overall learning a language when you are younger is easier because your brain isn't fully developed, you are more likely to be around the language all the time, you get more practice, and use the same parts of the brain to process the language. When you are older, your brain is most likely fully developed, you use different parts of your brain to process the language, as well as having prior knowledge on, most likely, more than one language.

How long does it take to become proficient?

A person is considered proficient when they can communicate (read, write, and speak) using the language, which usually takes 2-3 years. It takes 4-10 years for someone to become proficient at the academic level.

Does already knowing a language help you in learning a new language?

In the terms of learning a new language, already knowing a language is a help. Already knowing one language helps you to communicate and allows you to build off of it. For instance, skills such as sentence structure and strong reading learned in one language are transferred to a second language.