Whether you’re trying to learn a new language yourself, or you want to help your children learn Chinese from a young age, you may be wondering if there is a set best possible age to start teaching or learning. What is the best age to start learning a new language? And if you want to learn Chinese or any other language, might it be too late for you to start?
I might be able to offer some insights on your ability to learn Chinese or any other new language, so if you’re feeling worried you’re certainly in the right place. Allow me to break down the facts of the matter, as well as offer a few tips that you might find helpful while you’re embarking on this learning process.
The Best Age to Start Learning a New Language
If you have a child under three years old, this is a great time to introduce more than one language to them simultaneously. Deciding to teach your child a language as early as possible may produce the best results, even if your kid isn’t yet able to talk, read, or write. This is possible even if you don’t speak another language yourself, but it’s a commitment that you and your family need to agree to do (and agree on how to do).
By speaking the new language around your baby or young child, your kid is far more likely to learn Chinese or any other language fluently. This is often the case even if you want to teach your kids more than one language at once. While your child might start to speak and communicate more slowly than other children their age this way, they will likely catch up and be fluent in two or more languages as an end result.
It may be helpful to do this by surrounding your child with multiple people who will only be able to communicate with them in each language. For example, if you want your child to learn Chinese, Spanish, and English, you might want to consider having at least as many guardian-like figures present in that child’s life, such as a relative or bilingual nanny.
You might speak to your child only in Chinese, your partner might speak only in English, and someone else might speak with them exclusively in Spanish. This almost forces your child to learn all of the languages in order to communicate what they want or need. Since teaching your child a new language isn’t the easiest process, the key is to keep it up as they grow up and start to show a preference for one language.
The Second Best Age to Start Learning a New Language
Alternatively, if you or your older child aim to learn a new language, the second best age to start learning is now. While this may sound cliche or silly to some, it’s true. Though the younger you are, according to neurologists and psychologists, the higher your brain’s plasticity is for learning new subjects and language. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start if your child is older than three years old; it simply means that the younger they are, the easier it will be for them to learn a new language.
Even if you consider yourself to be in old age, it likely isn’t too late to start learning. There is still a possibility of you being able to learn Chinese or any other new language, though this might be more difficult when you were younger. However, this doesn’t mean there is absolutely no point in your attempting to learn this new language right now. After all, if you choose to begin learning now, you might be able to at least partially learn the language and some of its keywords and phrases.
Age is just a number. If you’re motivated to learn, you’ll learn – the key is to get started. So, whatever age “now” is, now is a great time to get started; you will significantly increase the likelihood that you will grasp something useful. This might open up the doors for you to travel comfortably, communicate with loved ones, or otherwise feel fulfilled.
Additional Tips for Learning a New Language
If you’d like to start learning a new language now, you might find a few of the following tips helpful in jumpstarting your knowledge gain:
- Take an online class with a tutor: The key to learning a language is to find a good teacher. Foreign language lessons, let alone a good teacher, may be difficult to find locally, so taking an online class can get you started quickly. This also has the added benefits of offering more flexibility on time whils saving you a commute.
- Use flashcards: If you’re learning a language, you might want to start using flashcards. This will always be useful for learning basic definitions, as well as additional portions of a foreign language. For example, if you know English and are learning Chinese for the first time, you may need to learn a whole new writing style. Flashcards might help with this.
- Find or build a community: If you’re unable to find a class, consider finding other people you can learn from or learn with. Or, even if you are in a class, establishing a sense of community for learning might be extremely helpful to you. You can organize study sessions, ask questions, and otherwise get the help you need to learn effectively and efficiently.
- Practice regularly: By setting aside time to practice your new language on a regular basis, even daily, you significantly increase the likelihood of learning and reaching your personal goals. Try practicing regularly to improve your learning efficiency. Finding others to practice with you also greatly improves your ability to learn
You’re able to learn a new language at any age, although learning earlier on is always best. If you want to learn a language now, I suggest getting started as soon as you can instead of pushing it off. The sooner you start, the better you’ll be able to communicate and reach your personal goals.