Does age play a big part in our learning ability? We all know that young children are like sponges and can learn something new without a problem. They learn their native language by simply being amongst people of the same language and they eventually speak it well. But what about learning a second language? Just how easy is that?
Language has structure. A simple example in English would be the verb to speak. So, I speak, you speak, he speaks, we speak and so on. And so it is with other languages. Then you have to think about I have spoken, I was speaking, I spoke, I will speak and so on. So language definitely has structure and learning this structure is the key to speaking the language well.
They say that it is best to learn that second language when you are very young and that is because, again, you are learning by listening, as opposed to writing down all of those verbs to study later. So, what about the adult?
The adult’s brain is full of many stresses and strains and committing to time off to study something or other doesn’t come naturally. Learning a language simply by sitting in on a foreign conversation doesn’t make for quick learning, as our brains are looking for obvious words (e.g. television, coffee and thank-you), rather than taking in the linguistic flow of the sentence just spoken.
The best way for an adult to learn a language is to take oneself away from any everyday stresses and strains and to commit wholeheartedly to the learning process. Adults need structure in a learning process and it is the comfort of this that puts the adult learner on the road to an in-depth understanding of how the language works. Listening in on Spanish conversations would therefore be much more beneficial if it was tied in with a language course. And a language course in Spain would be the best learning method of all.
Not everyone that comes to a language course is starting at the same level. Some may have tinkered with the language at a very low level, some may have a basic certificate in Spanish and some may even have lived in a Spanish-speaking country for a short while but not long enough to get to grips with how the language words. Companies like UniSpain, who are based in Spain, can help the adult not only find the right level of course to attend but their tailor-made package will also take in your preferences as to location, accommodation and socialising.