What are the differences between the young language learner and the adult learner in terms of language development?
It is evident that all learning depends on language knowledge and language development hinges on communication. Language development is a process that starts early in human life. Language emerges from the natural interaction that occurs between the child and the mother. The earliest theory about language development assumed that children acquire language through imitation. It has also been observed young learners who are frequently exposed to two languages, unconsciously acquire the second language naturally, applying the same skills they use to acquire their native language. Pronunciation is stronger in children as the brain is more open to new sounds and patterns, but it is very difficult for adult language learners to speak without an accent.
The young language learner communicates using smaller vocabularies and simpler syntax. For an adult language learner communication is more complicated, as they are expected to be able to speak about a broader range of topics. Due to these higher expectations, the adult learner typically has more inhibitions about speaking a foreign language. Hence they are more self-conscious, and are more easily embarrassed. Thus their progress is hampered.
Adult learners have to make a conscious effort to learn a new language which children acquire naturally. While a child learns any language instinctively, adults need to turn to their intelligence to learn the rules.
A benefit of child-oriented language classes is that they tend to allow more play, songs and chants, along with physical activities like Simon Says. But Adult classes tend to be more analytical and conceptual.
Most adults have a greater conceptual understanding of language. They are more adept at finding patterns, which means they are more skilled at deducing and applying language rules. Language development is a complex and a unique human quality that...