Is it easier for young students learn a foreign language?

I just want to share with all of you an article I came across while surfing Language Learning forums:

“Bret Lovejoy, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages., says that It is easier for young students to learn a foreign language,. He says research shows advantages to introducing young students to a new language. “Their pronunciation and accent will be almost native-like,” if students stick with the lessons, he said. While many schools face budget constraints that prevent them from doing so, an extracurricular foreign language program for students in Iowa’s Quad-City region is teaching new languages to students as early as kindergarten.”

What do you think? I knowledge that this topic may have been discussed several times, but what caught my attention is that Mr Lovejoy said that there is a scientific research that support this statement. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any info about this research.


This is a great topic Humberto. I think it is true, based on observation, that young learners have an easier time with accents. I believe that this is because they are less inhibited, and because their brains are less rigid, more flexible, more open to new influences.

However, if we leave aside the pronunciation, an adult learner can achieve a higher level of competence, a larger vocabulary, a greater ability to comprehend and express him or herself, than a child, simply because of the adult’s greater world experience and vocabulary in his or her own language.

You know Steve, I really love the idea of getting students to learn new languages at an early stage of his/her lives. It is fantastic.

I really believe that it will help them to develop as human beings. My three kids are bilingual. They are Spanish native- speakers and also speak English totally fluently. They always tell me that learning a new language have been excellent for their self esteem, and trust and excellent step for their future.

The more languages we know, the wider our potential group of friends, the more we can know of humanity, the advantages are enormous and it is so satisfying. At LingQ we just want to make it easier to do. Note the new automatic loading of Hints is going to make LingQing easier too.

Well, if your pronunciation sucks then there is no point of having a large vocabulary, higher competence in the passive way. Language is all about communication and if nobody understands you then you have not learned a language to a higher degree . Younger ones indeed have an upper hand when it comes to developing a good accent or understandable pronunciation

Hi, Asad100101…

I am not totally convinced that what you said above is 100% true. I am talking based on my own experience. I am from Venezuela and moved to Canada seven years ago. When I arrived to Canada my English accent was horrible,a heavy Spanish accent (I believe it is still heavy) which really struck hard my willingness to keep going my English studies. However, when I started to use the language in a more natural way, which means to use more natural phrases and English patterns, I realized that my accent was no longer a problem and I began to hold very nice conversations with native speaker without any problems at all. As i have said a thousand times, LingQ played a huge role with regard to my success in becoming a better English speaker.

I wonder if it’s possible for nonnative parents to teach a kid a foreign language.
For example, imagine I was fluent in, say, Italian.
If I played a lot of Italian videos and audios and all that for my nephew and talked to him in Italian, would he end up speaking pretty well?

My cousins were born and raised in the USA but their parents had immigrated from Pakistan . They ended up speaking both Urdu ( native language of their parents ) and English like native speakers. However , they can not write and read in the language , though. It is very much possible. My nephew was born in Dallas , Texas. He learned a couple of Urdu sentences and learned some s
Nouns like for relationships like dad, mom, grand fathers etc
His pronunciation is native like in Urdu however he speaks English far more fluently since his mom is a Caucasian American and his dad is from Pakistan. he spends most of his time with mom . He is just four years old. He already knows words like fart, nasty, what the f…k, I want to f…k you, crib, crap, ugly, beautiful, naughty etc …it seems like the vocabulary of a native is way too higher. English is my second language and I did not know the word fart until 20 years old, I started learning English at the age of 18 . Just look at the gap of vocablary that I need to
cover up as a non native speaker

Humberto, I was also talking from experience. Having a heavy/strong accent is a huge hindrance when it comes to holding a decent conversation without repeating yourself many times. I watched around 200 movies, sitcoms, tv series, listened to audio books of long worded novels like study in scarlet, crime and punishment and many more podcasts of different genres yet I’m unable to carry on a simple conversation with a native speaker without repeating myself over and over again. Input is indeed very important when it comes to understanding a language but communication is a two way process . You have to understand well and then respond back equally well. My understanding in my target is quite good but my pronunciation or accent is heavy so I’m forced to repeat myself. This is my take on this issue . Perhaps you have softened your native Spanish accent after living in Canada for many years.