Adults‘ ability to acquire languages: Can senior citizens learn a foreign language? Cover Image

Spracherwerbsfähigkeit im Erwachsenenalter – Können ältere Menschen noch effektiv eine Fremdsprache lernen?
Adults‘ ability to acquire languages: Can senior citizens learn a foreign language?

Author(s): Joanna Chojnacka-Gärtner
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Foreign languages learning
Published by: Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Zawodowa w Koninie
Keywords: language acquisition; language learning; children; adults; seniors; biological conditions; motivation; autonomy

Summary/Abstract: A lecture on vocabulary learning given by the author at the University of the Third Age in Rychwal, Poland was a stimulus to write the article. The author, motivated by the questions and huge interest of the audience of her presentation on techniques of foreign language learning used by seniors, decided to compare the abilities to learn languages displayed by adults, including elderly people, with the abilities of children (comparative analysis). Biological conditions to learn foreign languages by different age groups are the main topic of the first part of this article. Next, the factors influencing motivation to learn languages by adults and children and their ability to nurture autonomous attitudes are confronted; moreover, the consequences of all these conditions in the formal setting are discussed. Finally, some practical implications for teachers and students (teacher trainees) who teach foreign languages to people over 60 years old are also presented.

  • Issue Year: 4/2016
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 17-26
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: German