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Debunking 3 Common Language Acquisition Myths for Adult Learners

Updated: May 11, 2023

Why Learning a Second Language is Easier Than You Think!

Welcome language learners! Have you ever felt discouraged from pursuing a new language because of the notion that adults are too old to become fluent or that you need to spend countless hours studying to make progress? Well, these are in fact myths, and they can be especially disheartening when it comes to your goals and career prospects, for which speaking more than one language is becoming increasingly valuable. But don't worry, we're here to bust those myths and provide you with the truth about language learning. In this post, we'll show you how to learn a language effectively and efficiently with personalized techniques and resources that match your learning style, pace, and objectives. Ready to debunk some commonly held misconceptions about language learning? Let’s go!

Myth 1: You’re too old to learn a new language

There is a view out there that learning a new language fluently is only realistic for children. Adults have supposedly missed their opportunity to develop proficiency in a second language. While it's true that during childhood the brain is especially adaptable to new languages, making it easier for kids to adopt high level language abilities relatively quickly, adults can still acquire meaningful fluency and enjoy this valuable skills-set. Not to be overlooked, adults have their own strengths in language acquisition too, which can boost their ability to progress impressively.

For instance, an article by the World Economic Forum challenges this myth and explains why it is still possible for adults to learn languages well. The article argues that adults have a) more cognitive skills allowing them to analyze and process language information, b) more self-regulation that helps them plan and monitor their own learning according to personal goals, and c) more resources to support their learning. These factors can enhance adult motivation and engagement in learning a new language. Moreover, adults can use their existing first-language knowledge and experiences to make connections and associations within the new language, which can help them comprehend and remember it better. Therefore, not only is acquiring a new language beneficial for and applicable to adults’ personal and professional lives, it’s also, thankfully, very much within the realm of possibility for adults.

Myth 2: You need to spend hours a day studying to make progress

Many people assume that language learning requires long hours of study every day to make progress. However, this is a common myth that can lead to stress and discouragement. The truth is that quality matters more than quantity when it comes to language learning. You don’t need to spend countless hours a day studying; you can achieve better results by spending shorter but more frequent sessions of focused and active learning.

If you're struggling to find time for advancing in this skill set amid a busy workday, don't worry. In a previous blog post we shared some tips on how to make language learning fun and enjoyable even when you have a hectic schedule. For example, you can learn on the go by using apps, podcasts, or online language learning courses whenever you have some spare time. You can also review material regularly using repetition with shorter gaps of time in between. These techniques help you reinforce memory and interact with the language in purposeful ways. In other words, by making language learning a part of your daily routine and lifestyle, you can learn more effectively and efficiently.

Also, as a professional, it is beneficial to learn at least some key words and phrases of a new language every day because it can allow you to communicate with people from different countries and interact with your clients better. With the world becoming increasingly interconnected, being able to speak a foreign language can offer you more opportunities to advance in your career.

Myth 3: You have to follow a strict curriculum or textbook to learn a language

This myth is far from the truth. Customizing your language learning curriculum is essential to achieving success in your target language. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to follow a strict and boring structure to learn a language. You can create your own personalized and flexible curriculum that fits your learning style, pace, and objectives. You can pick the topics that interest you and use any materials you find helpful, such as books, magazines, websites, blogs, online courses or even materials designed for native-speakers of the language, not just for language learners. By handpicking your own materials, you can learn in a more engaging, relevant, and enjoyable way.

Moreover, you can tailor your curriculum to focus on the aspects of the language that are most crucial to your professional life. For example, if you need to communicate with clients or colleagues in a foreign language, you can concentrate on learning vocabulary and expressions related to your field of work. If you’re writing reports or presentations in a foreign language, you can emphasize learning grammar and writing skills. If traveling or relocating to a foreign country, you can prioritize learning cultural and social norms as well as etiquette. By customizing your curriculum to suit your professional requirements, you can develop practical language skills that will help you thrive in your career.

Language learning is a lifelong journey that can bring you countless benefits and opportunities, both personally and professionally. Don't let common myths discourage you from pursuing your language goals. Instead, remember that age is just a factor, quality matters more than quantity, and flexibility is key. With the right techniques and resources, you can learn a language successfully, no matter your level or background. And that’s what Lingobility offers you. With Lingobility, you can create your own customized and flexible curriculum, choose your own topics and materials, and learn in a fun, interesting, and applicable way. So don’t let common misconceptions hold you back. Start your language learning adventure today!

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