Children Are Better Learners Of Second Languages Than Adults

1112 words - 5 pages


By Fan Zhang



The international communicate became so frequent today, almost everyone want to become a successful foreign learner, but the results are often unsatisfactory. Therefore, many learners regret that they began to learn second language too late, if they start learning as a childhood, and certainly will master a foreign language successfully. This is because children have more advantages than adults. They can learn faster than adults, and the level of foreign language may be close to their mother-tongue level ultimately.

Firstly, there ...view middle of the document...

Secondly, there are some reasons that children can reach their mother-tongue level when they learn a foreign language. To begin with, when discussing on the social psychology factor, comparing with children, adults tend to inhibit from using their second language. In other words, they are always reluctant to practice the language what had learned. As a result, they are difficult to achieve the native language pronunciation and the level of fluency (Michael Rundell 1983). Moreover, from a cognitive perspective, the adults have highly developed cognitive system, and they are willing to learn the language rules consciously. But, the process of the cognitive is no doubt different from children. This has led to quite a different language acquisition process. This distinction, will lead them to achieve different that children can be easier to reach their mother-tongue level when they are learning a second language. First, the language acquisition process of adults can be seen that most of adults’ learners use the same method to study foreign language which can be described as memory. They repeat the words, sentences and articles, and then, store the memory into the region responsible for memory in brain; this takes the shape of such foreign language knowledge. So t he process can be explained like this:
Memory---The region of memory---Knowledge (Mary C. Potter 1987)
How children handle the language? Through the observation of scenes and images of these expressions they speculate about the meaning of the representative, and then “link” with this images. After a few times, this symbol of voice forms a “conditioned reflex” in the brain, then this language network structure gradually constructed the region of it. Ultimately, children realize the ability that use symbols of voice to think. Children’s language acquisition process is:
Speculation---A conditioned reflex---The establishment of language---Reflect on language (Wu Hanrong 2006)
It can be seen obviously that children can achieve this process easier and faster which can lead them to reach their mother-tongue level. And adults are too far behind to catch up.

Someone may claim that adults are better learners of second language, because they have systematic learning method already. However, these fixed methods let adults accept others difficultly. In addition, when adults study a total unfamiliar language, these learning systems may mislead their...

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