Many of us need to spend countless hours with boring textbooks to pick up the subtleties of grammar in a second language, while a child can come back from a vacation in another country being completely fluent in its language.
How and, most importantly, WHY does it happen??
The reason that it is easier for young children to learn a new language may not be just due to their age, but to restrictions and changes that usually go along with being an adult. We’re busy all the time, we have to care about a million various things at any given moment, we’re stressed – all these things may stop us from being totally immersed and surrounded by a new language.
In addition, many of us HATE making mistakes – and this is part and parcel of learning a new language. You make mistakes, you sound dumb, and you have to deal with it.
When does it get to be too late?
Unfortunately, we don’t know the exact answer, but a recent study found that English-learners who are fluent in the language had started learning English before the age of 18. After that age, the ability to learn a foreign language and become fluent in it usually declines. However, many of the participants who had started later in life had achieved nearly 100% fluency.