It is a commonly held belief that children are better at learning a second language than adults thanks to a hardwired biological device called the Language Acquisition Device, or LAD, which shuts off when a person reaches the Critical Age. While the benefits that the LAD brings are clearly observable, people often overlook the advantages that adult language learners have over children. Studies have shown that adult learners have a greater cognitive prowess, better problem solving skills, and larger schemata than child learners. While the learning styles are therefor very different between age groups, each has its own strengths on which to capitalize.
The New York Times reported last week on the myriad reasons and avenues for adult learners in the United States to learn an additional language. At A.C.E., we offer intensive English language programming for international students at the university level or higher, but the same learning strategies we impart apply to any adult learning another language. It’s never too late to start, and the benefits to being bi- or multilingual are many. So if you’re looking for something to do with those few extra hours per week, why not study a language?