What helps an adult learn a foreign language?
What helps an adult learn a foreign language?

What helps an adult learn a foreign language?


“Well, that's it, from Monday I pick myself up and sign up for language courses! These ones seem to be quite good ... But after all, so many years have passed since graduation, and at the university we just did that thousands were translated with a dictionary. Maybe the moment is completely missed? If you listen to current experts, you have to start this way almost from infancy, then it will be too late. Can I or can't I? ” Admit it, caught yourself on such thoughts?

Many teachers who work with older students are faced with the problem of motivation, based on the fear of repeating past failures and missed opportunities. Linguists and part-time teachers of English, Richard Roberts and Roger Kreuz, wrote a book “Becoming Fluent: How Cognitive Science Can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Languages”to dispel your doubts. They compared how adults and schoolchildren learn foreign languages, and highlighted several important differences. Here are 4 advantages of adult students who will return your faith in their abilities:

  1. You know how the language works in general: what functions words have, how they logically line up in a sentence, and why this or that phenomenon is needed. A schoolboy who has recently completed parts of speech in Russian language lessons so far has a very vague idea of ​​how the verb and adverb are related, and why prepositions are needed. You see a logical connection and understand what principles it is based on - which means you save time and make fewer mistakes.
  2. You understand that language is not just a collection of words, and the whole system with complex relationships of elements, and for each language this system is unique. Children are often discouraged by the fact that in a given language for some word there may not be an equivalent, and what they used to express in one way, a foreigner will express in ten (oh, how long it took to explain to a group of young anime lovers that adjectives in Japanese too have the past tense form!). Adult consciousness is quite ready to perceive the complete absence of cases - or vice versa, a huge number of them, which again reduces the time of study.
  3. You realize that words and their meanings are not everything. “But will it sound too emotional / official / rude if I say ...” - this is only heard from an adult student. A child (even older schoolchildren) does not always reflect on the fact that a phrase neutral for a Russian-speaking person will be offensive to a foreigner. An adult knows that of the two synonyms, one is suitable for business communication, and the second only for a friendly conversation. And an adult understands irony much better, metaphors, idioms - everything that makes our speech expressive, lively. He is ready to teach and actively apply them in practice.
  4. You know how to plan effectively. Unlike a child who simply follows the instructions of the teacher, the adult clearly understands the intermediate result. Opening the section of the textbook, for example, devoted to emotions, you can easily imagine how having finished it, you can name the main shades of your mood and describe the situations that provoked them. Having received the result, you can evaluate your successes and weaknesses - for example, you understand that grammar was given to you with ease, but to study words, you would have to use a different technique. Unlike a child, you are able at each stage of training to give a teacher a detailed feedback, which helps him to make classes more effective.

So, life experience and developed logical thinking are helpers, relying on which, you will make the learning process quick and effective. And we will explain how to put them into practice in learning English. Stay with us!


Anna Menshikova
Global English Ambassador

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