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Old 02-15-2013, 01:22 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX
74 posts, read 66,334 times
Reputation: 125


i would say that exposure is more important than age. if you have people around you speaking it all the time then you're bound to remember and learn more.

the point bale made about natural talent is also important as well as personality type.

side note: hats off to the polyglots here. i hope to join the ranks
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:33 PM
Location: Monnem Germany/ from San Diego
2,244 posts, read 2,319,009 times
Reputation: 4647
I was 35 when I moved to Germany and spoke no German, after a year or so was pretty comfortabe with the language. 13 years later I speak at almost a native level.

I am from San Diego and had a few years of spanish at school. I do not speak spanish really but was in Spain often for my prievious job. I think if I spent a few months in Spain I would be able to communicate pretty well.

I do not think it is ever too late to learn if you really want to.
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:46 PM
497 posts, read 847,421 times
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I don't think it is ever truly too late. As others have said, it depends on your devotion and immersion into the language and culture. I think that's why many people never really take to spanish, despite having spanish class every year in school. The immersion wasn't there, and they were never really interested in the language or culture to begin with.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:43 AM
6,041 posts, read 10,371,686 times
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It is never too late to learn a new language, similar to how it is never too late to start a new life. However, some aspects is easier to learn at a younger age, even if that continues to be possible at a later age using some more effort.

I already have experiences with learning 3 languages up to 21 years old.

Other than English, I used to know 1,000 to 2,000 words in Mandarin Chinese in high school to the extent where I was able to write small essays in that language and speak at least 5 paragraphs of words total. Unfortunately, I forgot almost all Mandarin Chinese I used to know in High School since my Early College years. Maybe I’ll try to learn Chinese again a bit later on in life and remember that next time.

I also surprisingly know Romanian because my parents/sibling are from there before they immigrated to USA and most of my family members live in Romania. I have near fluency in understanding Romanian and can speak it well.

I want to learn French very soon and probably start within 2 to 4 years later. That seems very easy to learn French and I already can intuitively understand some French, even with having no experience learning that language yet, so that is a good sign that I could gain fluency very quickly.

Up to 28 years old, I’ll try to know at least 3 languages total.

Italian, Spanish, and Thai are the other most intriguing languages I would like to learn and know, but I am not sure I could know up to 6 languages up to 50 years old.

Last edited by Thepastpresentandfuture; 02-23-2013 at 10:59 AM..
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:32 PM
7,312 posts, read 11,486,288 times
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the key really is how passionate you are in wanting to learn not only the language, but culture, etc...if you have that desire, you can be fluent even in your 40s like my friend.
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:04 AM
4 posts, read 11,641 times
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I'm sure this has been said in the thread before, but a lot of it isn't about age so much as exposure and aptitude. I have friends that emigrated to the US or to other English speaking countries in their early teens and no longer have accents. My husband has been learning English most of his life and still has an accent, though it's not nearly as strong as it used to be and I don't hear it, but some people hear it more than others. He didn't get around a very good exposure to the language until he was in his later teens though, just had the book smarts. Exposure is the key and not being afraid to sound silly when you try to mimic native speakers...
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:17 AM
Location: Leeds, UK
22,198 posts, read 22,406,807 times
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I'm in the process of learning Swedish and have memorised a good few phrases and sentences with relative ease and have even managed to understand the complicated pronunciations and randomly placed afflictions on certain words, but I'm no good at rolling my R's. I'm in my mid 20's.

My mother was a competent French speaker, my grandmother was a competent Spanish speaker and could speak Swedish to some degree after having a couple of Swedes stay with her during the 80s. My mother cannot speak any French anymore, and my grandmother can only say a few phrases in Spanish. Once you learn a language, try use it on a daily basis so you don't get out of the habit of using it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:01 AM
Location: IL
2,992 posts, read 4,260,314 times
Reputation: 3071
For me, here is an important aspect of learning languages without truly being immersed in the language: Be happy with small steps.

I am really bad because I don't truly dedicate myself to learning the languages, I do a little here and a little there and over time I learn...a really bad approach. I will get a book and sit down and read about the basics of grammer and be dedicated to get the base down, then I get interested in doing something else. After a little bit I come back and review all that stuff again. It is truly a terrible approach, but I found that I stay engaged by being happy with smaller steps...such as reading flashcards, reading a children's book, etc.

I have taken one class for a couple of months and found that I advanced much quicker, but mainly because it kept me dedicated to learning. Anyway, I think one problem older people have with learning is familiarity with grammer structure, but also satisfaction with small steps over time. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:27 PM
Location: Eastwood, Orlando FL
1,260 posts, read 1,369,863 times
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I've Completed Rosetta Stone, French, Italian and German. I went to Europe this year, got to see read and hear Italian and French. I could read a good bit of it, but forget speaking it or understanding much of it when it's spoken. I haven't had huge problems with grammar. Maybe because I understand how it works from 3 years of Spanish in High school.
I like languages so I am going to college to major in French and maybe minor in Italian. I'm 42. I started learning the first of the 3 languages about 4 1/2 years ago
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:46 PM
Location: Czech Republic
2,385 posts, read 5,576,320 times
Reputation: 788
Originally Posted by Maksud90 View Post
Even though I know that you can "learn" at any age, at which does it become harder to perfect it? Is there an age at which you can never get rid of the accent?

Has anyone had an experience learning a language at a later age? If so what age, and how bad is your accent?

I got exposed to the Portuguese language in my 20's.
Although the words are very similar to Spanish, pronunciation is quite different, more similar to French.
I am still having a hard time with the Portuguese pronunciation up to now.
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