If you want to work for the Federal Government, or the retail sector in Ottawa, it’s helpful to know both official languages. In fact, in some cases it’s part of the job description… but learning a second language can be difficult, particularly as we age.
A new study by Boston-based researchers finds that language-learning ability starts to decline after the age of 18. And if you want to sound like a native speaker, your chances are better if you start learning before the age of 10.
Researchers aren’t sure what causes the drastic decline after age 18, but they believe it has something to do with the fact that the brain becomes less adaptable in adulthood. However, researchers say dedicated language learners can still become proficient, perhaps even fluent, well into adulthood. A study from 2014 revealed that learning a new language as an adult can help slow brain decline. Other studies point to the benefits of being bilingual, including a later onset of dementia.
If you plan to pick up a second language and become bilingual, you’d better get started soon. Those same Boston researchers also found that it takes 30 years to fully master a language.