Does The Ability To Learn Spanish Easily Degrade With Age?
Many Spanish learners in their 40's or 50's notice that they find learning the language difficult, saying that the words don't come to them easily and that the grammar rules are too much to plant in their minds. They say it's their age. That had them started earlier in life, when their minds were still conditioned for fast learning, they could have had better chances to learn Spanish easily.
According to language pundits, the onset of puberty—age 12 to 14 particularly—is the optimum age for learning a new language. They assume that it is much easier to learn, and master for that matter, a foreign language at that age than it is in later years. But some argue against it, pointing out that it is not about the age but is all about commitment. The question now is, does age really matter? Or picking up the language simply has to be a condition of the mind?
Learning Spanish is not a walk in the park. Even for younger learners. And like learning to play piano or to cook, learning Spanish might be a little tougher for older learners. However, this is only a general scenario and should not be used to measure a person's ability. Because even though many would agree that learning at an older age might spell learning difficulties, there are still a number of Spanish learners who testify that they have learned the language way past adolescence and are now actually good at it.
They say that when their minds were at the optimum stage to welcome a new language, their commitment and desire to learn were not as strong as when they were in their 30's, 40's, or 50's. And they, therefore, were not as serious as when they were older, when they already had a genuine use and purpose for the language. In other words, they believe that although age is a contributing factor, motivation still counts as the most influential factor to a Spanish learner's ability to learn the language.
That said, an older Spanish learner has no reason to be bothered by his age. Realistically, there would be tough times, but that is also the case for younger learners. That age is the central reason for having difficulty with the language is almost an immature excuse because if the learner is interested to learn—whatever his age is—he could downplay all the difficulties. The issue now here is how intense that interest is and how willing the learner is to be fluent in Spanish. If the learner has set his mind toward learning and mastering the language, there is no age issue to reconcile with in the first place.
The ability to learn Spanish easily, in other words, rests in the person's attitude. The learning stage is tough by all accounts. No one would dare to contest that. But there are ways to minimize the difficulties, and it is the learner's duty to find out which ways would work for him—no matter what his age is.