Languages and your Brain

How your brain learns languages, by Hunter Roberts

Critical Period Hypothesis

The best time to learn a second language is between 2 years old and puberty, because lateralization of the brain upon completion, makes it harder to learn a second language. Lateralization makes it harder because you are using different parts of the brain to learn a language, as opposed to using one part of your brain for learning a language. This is why it's easier for younger people to learn a second language. Laterization is completed by the end of puberty.
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Advantages of learning a language younger

One advantage to learning a language at a young age is that you develop a native like accent. You also have less to learn to be considered proficient. You are also more likely to receive input that you can understand.

Advantages of learning a language older

While it is easier to learn a language at a younger age, there are a few advantages to learning a language and an older age. For example, you can consciously use methods to make learning easier. You also have knowledge from your native language to help you understand the second language you are learning. Also, you have greater control over your input.

Factors that affect your ability to learn a new language

There are some factors that affect how well and fast you learn a new language, like

-How motivated you are, if you don't want to learn a language, chances are you aren't going to take the steps necessary to learn it.

-How old you are, as younger learners tend to learn languages easier.

-Your access to the language affects how quickly you learn, if you are surrounded by people who speak the language, you will learn it more quickly.

-The quality of your instructor also decides how quickly you learn a language, if you have a good instructor, you will learn a language quicker.

-Your cognitive ability also is a factor of how quickly you learn a language, if you are handicapped mentally, it will likely making a new language harder.

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How long it takes to learn a language

It usually takes 2-3 years to be able to understand every day discussions and speak so other people who know the language can understand you.

To learn a language so that you can read, speak, listen, and write it at an academic level takes about 4-10 years. If you are surrounded by people who speak the language often, it will take closer to 4 years, however if you are just being taught words, it would take you closer to 10 years most likely.