Language Acquisition

I have a thing for languages. It’s been a romance from a young age. I remember thinking how cool it was that my aunt could speak to people in something that no one else could understand. My biggest motivator for learning French in high school? My sister took Spanish, so naturally I wanted to be able to speak to my aunt in French without her being able to understand.

Of course, my path to languages started with Spanish at about age 11. I was a good student, always did well on my tests…but to this day I’m not convinced I actually picked up anything until much later…like a few years ago…when I actually had to USE my knowledge, instead of just pass a few tests. Spanish came relatively easy for me, and then I decided to take on French when I got to High School, which I followed quickly with Italian a year or two later. This language learning streak I was on got me the “Foreign Language Award” my senior year and gave me the lifelong goal of mastering all the Romance languages.

People all over the world...

I always loved languages. Even now that I have long since forgotten my Italian, but finally feel confident enough to claim “fluency” in Spanish. I have dabbled in Portuguese and German as well, and still hope to master German in a few years time, but I’m afraid my goals are too lofty. I want to learn any number of languages, and speak them with as much ease as I do Spanish: French, Portuguese, German, Serbian (for personal reasons.)

Can adults really master new languages? I hear it’s possible, I can hope for the best, but I wonder if I am truly capable of learning all of these languages over the next few years…err – decades. Guess we all have to start making dents in our bucket list sooner or later!

Any words of wisdom or helpful experiences to motivate me welcome!

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4 responses to “Language Acquisition

  1. I’d like to say that yes as you age you can learn a
    language. At 60 I am tackling French. The effort to remember is
    that you should be regulqrly honing in your language skills, even
    if it is passive like listening to a radio in the language that
    interests you or you want to maintain. Getting into a habit of
    refreshing your language knowledge with holidays and some prep
    before you go so that sentence structures, expressions remain
    familiar is another helping strategy. I’m actually attending French
    writing class one whole day a week with 10 other people and we must
    communicate in French. So far so good! Right now I am confortable
    speaking Spanish, Italian, French, Arabic simple and basic
    Portugese all learnt after 30, so be encouraged. I was told in
    school that I had no aptitude for languages.

    • amandasperspective

      Hi Glenda!! Great to hear from you and your story is very encouraging. I still hope to keep up and learn new languages so I’m grateful to know I’ve got a long life of learning ahead!

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Hi there! Loved reading about your travels on your Freshly Pressed post, and this link “Language Acquisition” caught my eye. I had to reply because you just seem so kind and thoughtful, and I just wanted to say YES, YES, YES, it is possible for adults to be expressive and creative in ways they never imagined in languages they didn’t begin to learn until well into adulthood. I am a (now part-time) adult English literacy teacher, and my students are learning English for the very first time — and sometimes even learning to read and write at all for the very first time. They work really hard, but I think they do best when they let themselves have fun with it — when they find something to laugh at (sometimes themselves)…usually this happens pretty easily, especially when those they are laughing with are also adult language learners…people who also understand the pain and vulnerability and embarrassment that is hard to avoid when working in a language not your first…So some ache and embarrassment, probably inevitable. But feeling capable of communicating in ways you never knew you could before, feeling a new way of expressing yourself… so worth it, I think. I think you feel that too! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Margaret

  3. i am trying to learn French…..got a calendar with a new sentence a day..hope it helps even though my brain is rusty.

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