CNN article on learning a foreign langauge online

This article drives me to despair:


Really??? Rosetta Stone may be useful for learning some vocabulary but is hardly useful for someone serious about learning a language.

<<He also noted that, although your ability to learn a new language goes down with age, it never goes away completely. A 20-year-old will learn faster than a 40-year-old, who will learn quicker than a 60-year-old, but anyone at any age has the ability to take on a new tongue.>>

I wonder how much research there is to back up the claim that the ability to learn a new language goes down with age. I am sure Steve can speak much better Russian than many younger learners out there. If you have a good method, I don’t think age is much of an issue.

Rosetta Stone no doubt is running some ads on CNN…haha. Good point about age being a factor. I’m work with mostly middle-aged Korean managers and can say that attitude definitely plays a larger role than age. Funnily enough, some of the guys in there mid-30s have their heads so filled with complex grammar forms, their progress is slower than the older guys int he early 50s who just speak a lot using common expressions, vocabulary, etc. This has certainly given me a much needed boost in learning Japanese.

Some time ago I watched on the news about a certain Korean lady who is making millions of dollars of a year teaching people English. However, when she was interviewed on CNN, she declined to speak in English and required the service of an interpreter!

The impression I have of English teaching in Korea is that it’s quite similar to Japan, i.e. there is an emphasis on grammar and the teacher’s job is to make you pass the exams, not to speak the language.