How Can Children Learn Language


How do kids learn language?

Video taken from the channel: tvoparents


How to Learn a Foreign Language Like a Child Does!

Video taken from the channel: Days of French ‘n’ Swedish


Learning and Development of Language: The First 5 Years of Life

Video taken from the channel: Sprouts


Can Adults Learn Languages The Same Way That Kids Do?

Video taken from the channel: Langfocus


Why Can’t Adults Learn Languages Like Children?

Video taken from the channel: Tom Scott


How Children Learn Language

Video taken from the channel: NWTLiteracy


How Do Babies Learn Language?

Video taken from the channel: QHat

Adults help children learn language primarily by talking with them. It happens when a mother coos and baby-talks with her child. It happens when a father listens to the fractured, rambling, breathless story of his 3-year-old. It happens when a teacher patiently repeats instructions to an inattentive student.

Learning language is natural and babies are born with the ability to learn it. 1  All children, no matter which language their parents speak, learn a language in the same way. Basic Stages of Language Learning There are three basic stages in which children develop their language skills.

Stage One: Learning Sounds. You may have heard that it is easier and quicker for children to learn languages than it is for adults. You may have heard that it is easier and quicker for children to learn languages than it is for adults. Spanish. English.

German. French. Swahili.

Arabic. Albanian. Persian. Amharic. Malayalam.

Portuguese. Georgian. Wolof. Bengali. Yoruba.

Around the 4thmonth, babies engage in “vocal play” and babbles unintelligible sounds—including those that begin with the letters M, P and B. (This is when mommy swears that she heard baby say “mama.”) 6-12 Months. This is the peek-a-boo stage. Babies pay attention and smile when you call them by name. No.

Children acquire language quickly, easily, and without effort or formal teaching. It happens automatically, whether their parents try to teach them or not. Although parents or other caretakers don’t teach their children to speak, they do perform an important role by talking to their children. Children who are never spoken to will not acquire language.

All animals can communicate, but humans uniquely acquire language and speech skills, says Michael Frank, associate professor of psychology and principal investigator of the Learning and Cognition Lab at Stanford. In this episode of School’s In, Frank talks to GSE Dean Dan Schwartz and Senior Lecturer Denise Pope about his research tracking the emergence of language in children. Language Acquisition as Creation. Although distributional analyses enable children to break into the words and phrases of a language, many higher linguistic functions cannot be acquired with statistics alone. Children must discover the rules that generate an infinite set, with only a finite sample.

Play planning encourages children to practice using language to discuss the play scenario, and to make the roles, props, and actions clear to the other players. It is the time when the teacher can prompt the use of new vocabulary and encourage children to use the literacy elements (pencils, paper, books) that are in the play area. Your child’s key relationships help her learn communication, thinking and problem-solving skills. Your child learns best by being involved in learning, actively engaging with the environment, and trying lots of different activities.

Children go from babbling, starting by about 6 months, to speaking their first words around the age of 1, to forming full sentences by their third year. This process, known as language acquisition, happens with hardly any structured adult guidance.

List of related literature:

As they learn to understand and articulate words, children develop the earliest stages of language.

“Encyclopedia of Education and Human Development” by Stephen J. Farenga, Daniel Ness
from Encyclopedia of Education and Human Development
by Stephen J. Farenga, Daniel Ness
Taylor & Francis, 2015

Even young children develop a strong metalinguistic awareness, for example using knowledge of cognates in related languages to help them remember new vocabulary.

“Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us” by Nicholas Evans
from Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have to Tell Us
by Nicholas Evans
Wiley, 2011

Children learn language through repeated exposure to it.

“Cochlear Implants: Principles & Practices” by John K. Niparko
from Cochlear Implants: Principles & Practices
by John K. Niparko
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009

As children acquire language, they do not do so by simply memorizing lots of sentences.

“21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook” by Stephen F. Davis, William Buskist, Erin Brooke Rasmussen, Steven Randall Lawyer
from 21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook
by Stephen F. Davis, William Buskist, et. al.
SAGE Publications, 2008

Learning activities typically involved reading in the target language, translating from the target language into the mother tongue and vice versa, and doing written grammar exercises.

“English Language: Description, Variation and Context” by Jonathan Culpeper, Paul Kerswill, Ruth Wodak, Anthony McEnery, Francis Katamba
from English Language: Description, Variation and Context
by Jonathan Culpeper, Paul Kerswill, et. al.
Macmillan Education UK, 2018

Narrative abilities in monolingual and dual language learning children with specific language impairment.

“Communication Disorders in Multicultural Populations E-Book” by Dolores E. Battle
from Communication Disorders in Multicultural Populations E-Book
by Dolores E. Battle
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2012

As children’s experience with language develops, so do their segmentation, word recognition, and pattern recognition skills.

“Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics” by Keith Brown
from Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics
by Keith Brown
Elsevier Science, 2005

Receptive vocabulary differences in monolingual and bilingual children.

“The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism” by Tej K. Bhatia, William C. Ritchie
from The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism
by Tej K. Bhatia, William C. Ritchie
Wiley, 2014

Children learn language by exposure.

“An Introduction to Language” by Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman, Nina Hyams, Mengistu Amberber, Felicity Cox, Rosalind Thornton
from An Introduction to Language
by Victoria Fromkin, Robert Rodman, et. al.
Cengage Learning Australia, 2017

Through schooled instruction (i.e., learning to read and write) the child’s native language becomes visible and she develops “mastery” (i.e., intentional and conscious use) of its grammatical and phonological properties.

“Vygotsky's Educational Theory in Cultural Context” by Aljaksandr U. Kazulin, Alex Kozulin, Ebooks Corporation, Vladimir S. Ageyev, Boris Gindis, Suzanne M. Miller, John Seely Brown, Christian Heath, Roy Pea
from Vygotsky’s Educational Theory in Cultural Context
by Aljaksandr U. Kazulin, Alex Kozulin, et. al.
Cambridge University Press, 2003

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
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Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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  • Hey Paul. I have to admit I’m a big fan of your channel and a sucker for you too.
    I’m kinda addicted to your voice and my life seems nonsense if I fail to hear your voice one single day. I burst into laughing when watching this video and thanks a lot for your quality information. Keep up the good work and HAVE A NICE DAY:v

  • This is important! The book, “The Gift of Words: How do children learn to talk,” by Talmage Steele has 12 conversation starters for parents to employ to add more language to the things they already do with their children age 0-5. It doesn’t take more time, it takes more words. A big vocabulary helps a child succeed in school, at work, in life. Schools depend on parents to teach children to talk and to have a big vocabulary when they arrive at school.

  • People I know: How can I learn languages like kids do?

    Me: Be consistent, start from the basics, expose yourself to a lot of media in that language

    People I know: No, kids have magic brains I’ll never get it, because I’m old

  • Thanks. I really like this approach. I’ve been keeping a journal in French using Google translate. I write the English sentence then copy the translation while I listen to it pronounced and repeat that. I write about the woodyard I manage so a lot of repeat phases come up each day. Some days there’s new phases that come in when something out of the norm happens.
    I kept this up for three months each day and I noticed a lot of recognition of the spoken language when I listened to French programs. I do that quite a bit too, for example guitar lessons. Since I know guitar when I listen to a lesson in French the subject is familiar and though I don’t understand everything I pick up on some of it. Thanks.

  • Mexican here, I learned english from videogames and movies almost completely since i never had an english teacher at school until highschool. I’ve never been to the US (or any other country besides my own) and, yet, I grew up and spoke the language to myself almost fluently out of what i could catch from the media I consumed.

  • Our educational system needs to be restructured. Since young kids can learn languages so easily. They should be taught one or two other languages when they start school at 5. That, along with their native language should take up most of their eduational time for the first few years of school. The languages taught at that time should be the most “difficult” languages they would want or need to learn in their lifetimes. When they are older and their language learning ability is not as sharp, they could learn “easier” languages. For instance, an English speaker would learn Chinese, Arabic, or Russian when they are young and Spanish or Italian when older.

  • Welp, glad I could get some validation here about why my kids have speech delays. I spent most of my time too exhaused to talk and too exhausted to take them out to social situations. It seriously annoys me people keep saying “it’s not your fault” when I know it absolutely is. They clearly began to improve once I started reading to them on a regular basis and clearly stagnated when I stopped again. (It’s hard to read when they fight if they’re too close to each other and I’m trying to keep the baby from ripping the pages of a library book!) They’re 3 so I suppose there is still time for them to recover some lost ground. I have a better handle on things now so maybe the baby will have better luck with his language development.

  • I’m a teen Greek but I talk 3 languages and I’m now learning Italian and tbh even tho I have been doing so for a year I feel like I learned absolutely nothing

  • I didn’t talk too much with my kid now he is can I teach him language…as some of the words he don’t understand…and that is the reason he don’t answer

  • I have an interest in this because I’m a native Swede who moved to New Zealand at 10. I only knew basic English but I picked it up in under a month. And I somehow understand most Dutch and German which really confuses me. Also at age 10 I didn’t form an accent which is a whole nother topic.

  • I found this interesting and very informative ��I am technically a child �� and I have been learning irish for a while now. Since 4 years old and only took a interest in irish last Year and it has been easy learning tenses and all the other hard things to learn in the language. But other adults will say its hard. Example I learned the modh coinníollach in like 5 mins and was easy but adults/teenagers have to learn it in school and it’s somehow very hard. �� And that’s because I am a child. So that’s why I want it to be thought right in school so children can learn it with ease

  • Question: what happens to kids when parents speak in their native language but where they live the language is different. Will that cause issues on the little one’s ability to learn in school?

  • It is basically a ridiculous question! Unless you are a professor or school teacher of modern languages, an amateur in languages, etc., then if you’re over say 18 years your chances of learning a new language proficiently is nil! I was not a language major, but one of my French professors in the 1960s, who was in his fifties was teaching himself Russian and admitted he was having great difficulty. In contrast the great mathematician K. F. Gauss who was also a philologist taught himself Russian in his sixties-spoke it and wrote it perfectly in the 1840s.
    The brain is like clay pottery. At first it is soft, pliable and malleable. After time it hardens and takes its permanent shape!
    Also you generally can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

  • To be honest, I am 14 and am fluent in 3 languages. Czech (my mother tongue) English (my primary language as I go to school in UK) and German. (:

  • as a side note, if i hadnt lived in england as a kid (im german), i wouldnt have got the head start with programming, internet etc etc. and i surely couldnt listen to english youtube videos at 2x speed (havent tried this one). this is more valuable than every education i ever got.

  • I am a native Dutch speaker from the Netherlands. I’ve taught myself English by watching British and American shows and YouTube videos from age 10, and later started reading English books. I’ve always found it weird how I could learn English without school so easily, but struggle with learning languages now.

  • I’m so glad to hear that from someone else! Most of the people awfully misguided by adds of language courses like this “fluent in 3 months!” It’s just a trick because no one would go at honest courses saying “speak like a 3yr-old in 6 months, ok but with notable mistakes in 5 years, fluent as hell in 10-15”. Because of that many people believe it is possible to learn a foreign language in all its depth in one year. People are so used to their fluency in their native language they find it hard to look around and see that it actually takes about 15 to 20 years to fresh born people to master a language. Yes, just like that. Teenagers aren’t very good speakers really.

  • YOU ARE CUTE ��❤️��
    DEAR TEACHER! ����������������⚱️ARAMAIC
    & HILBREU! ⚱️⚰️⚱️⚰️
    SONGWRITERS ARE! ⚱️⚰️������������������������!⚱️⚰️������������������������⚰️⚱️

  • As a developmental psychologist, and a learner of foreign languages, this is an interesting view that never occurred to me.
    (Although, I would add to you point, that most of what children do from birth helps their language learning not just from 2 as the non-verbal communication cues they get from others, helps them learn to respond, and adults talking to them, greatly helps their vocabulary later on).

  • im a native portuguese speaker, live at brazil and never moved out, yet when i was 6, i found myself understanding a few english words (probably from the games i used to play), and then when i was about 8 or 9, everything just clicked and i suddenly started to understand english, im currently 12 and most of the time i think and speak in english to myself yet i dont get why, do you have any idea why so?

  • I totally agree with learning all the words you can without caring about what they are! I’ve had Japanese people tell me “Oh we don’t use that, you don’t have to learn it” or “that’s something that they only use in anime, you don’t need to learn it” more times that I can count. To which my reply would be “Do you, as a native speaker, know what it means?” “Yes, but…” “Then I’m learning it”. Even if it’s anime word or ancient Japanese or a dialect, if it is used in the animes, series or books I’m watching or reading then I’m sure as hell gonna need it. I’ve also had people tell me “Oh, nobody says that” and then almost immediately hear another native speaker saying that very same thing. As for watching the same series or videos over and over again that is something I like to do and I can attest to its effectiveness. I’ve watched some complete series in Japanese or French so many times that I can basically repeat the dialogues as I watch and it helped me a lot with speaking. Also, every time I rewatch/reread something I always discover new words or expressions I didn’t really notice the first time around

  • This is a great video!!! As a language educator, I value the importance of reading. Check out our version of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” told in a bilingual way (Spanish/English). thanks!:)

  • Im 15 and I watch Chinese children shows with my little sisters who are 3 and 4. Its like they repeat the words they like. It’s entertaining to be honest

  • I’m multilingual (Swedish, Finnish and English) and started learning all three languages very young, Swedish being my native language. I picked up some basic Spanish by the end of elementary school during a hobby club, and that stuck with me way better than the German and French I studied later on in upper secondary school and uni:D

  • when I was a kid, I could only speak 2 languages. Nowadays, as an adult, I have learned several more. At 31, I am fluent in 4, advanced in 3 more and recently picked up 2 other ones. It has become more interesting for me over years.

  • This is fantastic. This lady knows an awful lot. I dont have a baby but this is useful for a project i am working on thank goodness there are people like her in the world!

  • I went from 0 to fluent in French within about a year of moving to Quebec. Just by being around it constantly. I can’t think in French though so it all has to be translated going both ways so I’m not very fast.

  • A very interesting topic, thank you. I think that he can definitely catch up, but it will be hard and will only get harder as he gets older. By the time he realises that he has some catching up to do it might be too late. A good teacher would see that he needs help and may help him.

  • I started learning english from yt videos at the age of 4-5, and i was speaking fluenty at the age of 7. My native language is Portuguese and i’m 9yo as i write this comment.

  • One year? My son after 6 weeks in kindergarten started to speak German.His younger sister needed about 4 weeks.Ok it was a level of 3 yo

  • I been using tv and music to learn German i was able to pick up a few words here and their. But i’m gonna keep at it as it seems easier for me to learn a new language by listening to the language for about 2 hours a day.

  • Let’s not forget about “Motherese”, the kind of simplified language mothers use to help kids understand. Adults do not have that either.

  • I am from Nigeria one of your fan I like to learn English more than my native language I was always trying but my improve ment is very slow

  • adults can most certainly learn a language faster than kids. But why will they?
    it’s alot of effort and require alot of motivation and if you’re not practising actively the language or it’s a requirement to make your life easier.

  • Learning is so much easier for me as an adult than it was when I was a child… that is because child’s ability to memorize falls short due the lack of ability to internalize and contextualize. Basically, youth’s potential is wasted on the least relevant part memorization.

  • Don’t children learn more than just language? They learn the world with it. Adult learning language is trying to associating new language with known things. My native language is Mandarin but I learned physics in English, and it is easier for me to speak and think in English when it comes to physics -related fields. However When it comes materials I already know before I started learning in English (for example math) I am still faster and more comfortable in my native language. Maybe learning language is difficult to adults because it is no acquire NEW knowledge but memorizing phrases.

  • I have a baby, turning 3 months end of this march. I really want to teach her english but the environment might be not supporting as our native language is bahasa. And im not really fluent in english too. Should i just cry then?

  • I am researching language models for Artificial Intelligence. Do you think it should be tackled the way adults learn or the way children learn (the latter suggesting tabula rasa requirements which difficult to implement)?

  • On this moment, I’m learning the Russian language and every day I watch some Russian Miffy on Youtube. It’s really fun. Especially when you recognize more and more words.

  • i can talk 2 arabics “fous7a” and “darija”, can talking french, english too and also berber. I have learned english completly just recently and i’m studying it since i was 9 years old, the 2 arabics and french since i was very young when i learned them. Berber also recently by concentrating my brain to my mum and dad that are always talking berber at home but that i’m stupid that i couldn’t learn it since my childhood (i can understand berber since i was young, just understanding) have finnaly determination to learn, because corona

  • i learn really well through memory and situations. e.g I ll never ever forget the word « socket » bc my irish friend asked me: is there a socket close by » while having her charger in her hand, so i figured: oh so socket means « steckdose » a bit later i learnt « prise » (the french word) bc i was at the same environment and someone asked it in french and i think children learn tje same way, through context, seeing the things, that are meant and relation. they will (probably unconsciously) learn the word, bc his mom said it to them and they know she loved them.  that’s probably a important factor we don’t take into account yet.

  • I actually learnt English that way, it’s been a few years I’m listening English things on internet, last year, in England I discovered that I could discuss fluently with English-speakers.
    But it sadly doesn’t work with Japanese, so I had to learn vocabulary everyday to be able to speak.

  • When I was at school and being taught French I was told I had no skill at languages but then I lived in Spain in my 30s and picked up Spanish in two years. Necessity and immersion did it for me.

  • I love that you folks present an argument, and then explore other possibilities. It’s a strong premise and I think it has merit, especially in a society that values language so much. I do think that Pete would certainly compensate in unexpected ways. For what he may lack in solidifying the depth of his language abilities, he may end up strengthening non verbal communication skills. Perhaps a stronger reliance on facial recognition and even possibly empathy to make up for it?

    Yeah it’s all speculation, but I think above all else, children will naturally explore their world. Peters going to learn SOMETHING.

  • This is true. My native language is spanish and I’ve had to learn english in school since I was like between 9 and 12 years old. My parents also made me attend some special cambridge english classes and take many exams for 8 years, more or less. Let me tell you, I HATED it! And I never became fluent, it was so hard. However, one day I decided I wanted to try to watch some english youtube videos (Pewdiepie’s videos, since it was popular at the time, haha) and, even though I could barely understand what was being said, I enjoyed it. It was really fun and I learned so much more than what I was taugh in class! Watching someone play a videogame while commenting what they were seeing or how they were feeling helped my brain understand phrases and expressions like if it was my native language, so many things that have inaccurate translations or are non existent in spanish! In conclusion, I didn’t learn to speak english, I learned to think in english:) (Even though I still make silly mistakes here and there, I can at least understand perfectly when someone speaks and communicate pretty well)

  • The whole premise is wrong. Adults can learn languages extremely efficiently, sometimes in 2 years or less. Children don’t speak very proficiently until age 5 or later

  • Most language learning programs probably market “learning like kids” to capitalize on the ease of learning when you’re a kid. Most of us don’t remember acquiring language skills as infants, and thus it was relatively painless. Unless you were sent to weekend school like me to learn reading and writing.

  • I’m not sure I buy the premise of the title. I believe that if an adult is placed in a foreign country and only ever is able to hear or make themselves understood in the language of that country, they’ll learn it quite quickly. But most people don’t get as much exposure to the language they’re trying to learn, nor are they treated like children in their learning.

  • I have a cousin her dad is Jamaican and her mom is Haitian she speak Jamaican Patois, English,French and creole she only 8 yrs old!!! I don’t know how she get those languages.

  • I clicked out of this video when you mentioned left brain and right brain. you that stuff is completly wrong, and has been proven wrong, right?

  • Speaking childishly is cute, unfortunately nobody will ever take you seriously otherwise the men whom you shall talk to will be annoyed by your speaking way (I could have spoke easier but I don’t care about your judgments)

  • When talking about kids it’s not just about memorizing. They somehow understand the logic of the language and because of that, create words that might not even exist but logically they are correct. It’s very visible with agglutinating languages, they build up the word based on an other noun or verb, and it sounds funny because there are exceptions and different ways to do that, works with a certain root word but does not with another yet the construction is perfect. So even 2-3 years old kids have some capability of using the grammar, they aren’t always just repeating the proper words that they hear in a certain situation.

  • @ 2:31 The keyword is similarly.
    @ 4:52 I only want to be taken seriously by people who take thinking seriously.:)
    @ 7:18 I only care about results. If starting with grammar slows your progress down, I won’t start with grammar.:)

  • Good faith question:

    You’ve never struck me as someone who copies from other people’s work so I’m not accusing you of anything here. But I had this video recommended to me after watching a Tom Scott video on the same topic and with a very similar title that was posted just a couple of weeks before this one. (I am also subscribed to both of your channels.) So I wonder if it is a pure coincidence that you posted a video on the same topic (and with similar content as Tom) just a couple of weeks after he posted his video or if it was more a case you wanting to make a video on this topic be it because you were inspired by Tom’s video or because you had the idea for your video independently from his video but became at some point during producing this video here aware of his and then using some of Tom’s points with his permission. (Sorry for the weird and convoluted sentence…) I get that the video title makes sense for both of your videos given the topic and that even identical video titles can easily happen. And I get that of course both of your videos can’t be very different from each other because then they’d not be on the same topic anymore. I am also aware of there being a limited amount of good (primary) sources out there and that two people who make a video on the same specific topic will very likely at least come across the same literature etc. while researching for their respective videos.

    Again, I mean this as a good faith question and would also understand it if you wanted to delete my comment here if you on the one hand didn’t do anything that comes even remotely close to plagiarism but on the other hand know that there are people out there who will very publicly accuse you of plagiarism of the highest order after reading a comment like mine.

  • Thanks for that type! Advice… i have a question. what is best way to improve my Maroccoan Arabic? which methodes should i do to learn a language soon as possible. thanks!

  • It’s cool to hear that my habits with music are actually pretty good for learning! I just thought it was good for combating my auditory processing issues (apparently it’s an ADD/ADHD problem) which makes it hard to understand words at times. I’ve been listening to Japanese music for years but in the last three or so months since I picked up German I can hear a lot of words even if I don’t know them.

  • Oh, wow — thanks for the Portuguese subtitles! I’m a native English speaker, but I’m learning Portuguese after having learned Spanish, so I’m always very excited when I find a video about one of my favorite subjects that has Portuguese subtitles! Thanks again!

  • 1 When you are an infant you have no language. You learn the language out of necessity to survive in your environment. You learn it as fast as possible because you need to. You don’t have that much to do at that age anyway, except learn. If you were trapped in a foreign country where nobody spoke your language you would be in a similar situation, as close to being an infant learning a language as possible.

    2 When you are very young you have less on your mind, less to worry about, less junk filling up your mind. It is much easier to learn anything.

    3 Learning a second language as an older kid or adult you have much more on your mind, taking up your time. It is much less important because its not necessary for survival, and therefore you are much less motivated.

    4 I think we could learn a language FASTER than as a young child or expert scholar if we

    1 didn’t have anything else to do, we could spend 100% of the time studying and

    2 had the best learning materials and or teacher.

    I started learning Spanish but didn’t get very far because I couldn’t find good learning materials. I could have taken courses but I wanted to teach myself just to see if I could do it. I’m sure I can. So that is a question now. Where can I find the best learning materials? I mean books, and recordings with proper pronounciation. I would think regular school text books would be the best, school books written for Spanish children in regular public school.

  • No, you will not learn a foreign language the same way you would have during childhood. You can learn a second or third language well during adulthood, just not at native level. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though.

  • The method is not the same one. Kids focus on the accent when speaking and it’s exactly the best method ( written should come way later )

  • so, if i started learning english when i was only 1 year old, does it become by native language?

    i knew alahu kabooom when i was small

  • I still remember how I butchered my native language when I was a kid. Sometimes you forget about the time when you were learning your own language…for example, how you read your first novel, and the number of words you didn’t know or understand…

  • I’ve been learning english since I was 16 or so, now I’m 21 and I think I have enough knowledge to communicate with anyone in a normal or casual occasions, but I feel like I won’t ever be as good as a native speaker, not even close to one, sometimes I don’t understand wt the heck someone just said.

    BUT now that I’m learning German, I realised how simple english actually is in comparison.

    God deamn

  • as native german i learned dutch in one month. and i know i learned it very well because i had to write scientific papers and communicate on a high level in dutch after this month. so its actually possible.

  • I don’t really think there is to much of a difference babies pick it up because they hear it 24/7 and if an adult is surrounded 24/7 with another language they could probably be fluent after a similar amount of time.

  • 2:44 I couldn’t agree more. I decided to learn French recently so I set all my devices to the language. I learned the days of the week and words like tomorrow solely through seeing when my assignments for school were due on Google Classroom. I hadn’t looked at a single wordlist.

  • The formula to learn languages like kids do is just like this:
    1. Learn to form sentences from scratch not by translating.
    2. There’s always a pattern. When you listen to the speakers, train your ears to really listen to the grammar’s pattern and absorb it.

  • I completely agree with you because when we are adults we have much more willpower to learn a language because we are much more aware of our duties in order to learn a language than a child has.

  • There is a difference between children’s brains and adult’s brains. Children’s brains, up until around the age of 5 or 6 are geared toward learning and memory. They’re like sponges, they soak up everything. Adult’s brains are geared towards honing. That is, to let go what isn’t essential and to strengthen what is essential, like specialised language for careers. For adult learners to get the best results from both, do everything you said, but spend more time focusing on what is of particular interest. Still read the kid’s books for fun. Still watch the movies for fun, and to develop a sound loundscape in the mind of the new language, but put the focused energy into a passion, baking, history, reading about stamp collecting, etc.

  • Good points, except the memorization part. You don’t need to memorize anything when learning a language, playing an instrument. Never ever put any effort into the retarded concept of memorization. It is useless unless you have that rare brain with photophraphic memory etc. What you do instead is to learn new information and use that information immediately. Your brain will srore this in your long term memory because you have actual knowledge of something instead of this stupid try hard memorization which does jack shit for us folks without photo memory. Your welcome

  • I can understand more than a child ever could. I am fluent English, but have taught myself to speak German and Spanish, with a little French thrown in for fun.

  • these days I’m learning french from scratch and it’s hard to save an entire phrase it’s easy to save it word by word. what do you recommend

  • This is one of your best videos Lamont, very good advice here. I need to quit wasting so much time on DuoLingo and start focusing more on books and video. I’m close (I think) to breaking through to a level in which I can finally start enjoying “real” content. You video on Bookmate was great as well…I think the hardest part of learning a language is getting over that initial hump and getting to a point where you can start consuming content that doesn’t bore you to death. Maybe that would make a good YouTube video, “How to break through a language”….just a suggestion. Keep up the great work!

  • I have been learning language more seriously now. I know language learning takes tons and tons of time and dedication, but should language learning give headache? I have literal headaches nowadays with some nauseas. I don’t know if this is normal or should I consult a doctor.

  • Paul, this is very true. I think though that you didn’t addressed the main reason why this “language schools” promote that, and that is that most of them don’t teach grammar to the students.
    A lot of them, also, have natives speakers that don’t have a real knowldege of their own grammar.

  • Think about how many songs you heard as a child, over and over again, especially on TV in commercials. You did not understand all the words, but you can not help but retain them since they are saved in your subconscious mind. I am using songs in Norwegian to help me learn. It is fun, not boring.

  • The language is already there. We just have to discover it, imitate it and assimilate it (internalize it). I always would try to learn phrases in context and apply them immediately. Instead of learning just the word December, for example, I would write phrases which are important to me. Christmas is on December 25th. I was born on April 17th. Everything in context. I would pay close attention to the sentences natives used and imitate the structure, accent and intonation. I always would write entire sentences so I’d also learn the grammar simultaneously. Children spend immense hours exposed to the language. They are also tested constantly in the language during many years of school. As a self-taught language learner, we have to be very pro-active and creative a learning environment.

  • We should compile a list of kids’ books as resources for language learners hahahah. Thanks for the video, I’m embarking on my journey with my fourth language (German) and I have found this, great video.

  • When I was 15 I begun watching anime with english subtitles even tho I had barely any knowledge of the language. I just did that, I didn’t actively study anything, no grammar, no vocab etc.
    I didn’t even look up words most of the time and worked with plain context. Only sometimes I’d look up a word. Done that a couple years, and I was able to understand english pretty damn well.
    That’s a long time ago but I was already in my puberty back then and yet I learned it in a very similar way as I learned my native language as a child.
    The downside to how I did it was that even after being able to read very well, when it came to listening, writing or speaking I was lacking and I had to practice it a lot.

    By now I am pretty proficient in all these areas but that’s the result of over 15 years of using english on a day to day basis.
    So I’d say it’s absoloutely possible, but it’s not desirable. Cuz with active study you will get results much faster than by pure immersion. Actually, I’d say to do both for the best effect.
    I am learning Japanese nowadays and progress is much more steady due to me actively making an effort. It’s hard work sure, but it’s def quicker.

  • I’ve been speaking French and English since I was 5 years old. I can switch from both languages instantly, even morphing both languages into Franglais. The best part… Quebecers still think I have an accent from New Brunswick of all places.

  • communication is one of the 8 Success Fundamentals for the 21st Century. The fact that it is not a more prevalent subject to study in our childhood years is beyond me. We can not speak that which we do not know. The more limited the vocabulary, the more tendency to poor behavior.

  • I don’t care what the studies and brain scans say; it takes years and years for children to learn how to speak their mother tongue. And they do this by listening and mimicking their parents and siblings. That’s pretty much all they do. As adults, it gets more difficult because we have much more on our plates and we question everything, so we’re not just sitting around practicing how to say something in another language.

  • Though you have a point, I’d say this guy pretty much nails the drawbacks. The fact being that we’re not children anymore. Not physically, nor mentally:

  • Unfocused osmosis is an effective method of language learning which isn’t talked much about. It’s simply being exposed to a language while you’re focused in some other activity. For instance, while I was living in a Colombian neighborhood in NYC, I used to go to a Colombian coffee shop for breakfast. I wouldn’t be speaking with anyone in Spanish, beyond ordering my food, and I would be concentrating on eating-while I unfocusedly absorbed the Spanish that I heard around me (which reinforced my knowledge of Spanish vocabulary and my knowledge of Spanish grammar).

  • then i’m weird because I was raised as a toddler to ONLY speak Spanish since all my family lived in puerto rico and such but when I moved to the USA my once small second language became the only language I can speak.

  • Yeah learning a language only by listening won’t work. I’m Indonesian living in West Java where almost everyone speak Sundanese so I listen to people speak Sundanese 24/7 but I’m still not fluent in Sundanese despite having been living there for more than 10 years. I spent my childhood in Jakarta where everyone speak Indonesian and my mom never teach me Sundanese. It’s easier to speak English than Sundanese for me even though I’m not really fluent on those languages.

  • I’m in the UK, so far have found Disney+ only has Beauty and the Beast (quel surprise) dubbed in French lol. And the subtitles don’t match the dub. Très ennuyeux.

  • So, since I am a Pete due to the incompetence of my parent(s) [I can’t fault my single mother, she had to support us. I love her with all my heart, but as a child I spent most of my time outside of school, alone] How do I un-fuck my programming?

    I’ve been reading plenty of literature that points to neuroplasticity being moldable well into adulthood, along with many other brain hacks and tricks, but I feel I can’t catch up to people raised in a good home since I missed out on this exponential period. Even if I hack my brain to the best of it’s abilities, is there really any chance I will be as intelligent as lucy, or is it just a waste of time? what a cruel hand fate has dealt to me in this regard.

    I do not look for pity though, I look for a fellow Pete to give me assistance. If you, reading this, have overcome this handicap, please share

  • It’s a self fulfilling prophecy to say children learn languages easier than adults. Adults actually can learn a language better than children.

  • I am kinda interested in the study of languages on other animals. I wonder how they learn to communicate. Maybe you could approach this subject in a video, Paul.

  • I managed to learn Classical Armenian (5th century Old Armenian) at a nearly spoken level in my late 30s, although I was exposed to its written heritage from an early age. I also learned Russian in my late-20s, as well as some Greek just by translating various songs into Armenian:)))

  • Just one question should I watch shows in my target language as for the subtitles, or should I have them turned off or in my native language?

  • my three grandkids are fluent in three languages because their parents spoke English, Dutch and a Dutch dialect to them since birth

  • I’m a native Dutch speaker. I learned English from a young age in school but I was always at a higher level then they would teach in class. How did I do it? I have no idea. All I did was game in English and talk to English people in game and watch English YouTube. But how did I learn English from that? I truly don’t know.

    Now I’m learning Korean. And I find myself learning on purpose. While with English I was never learning on purpose. So I think I should try to recreate what I did with English.

  • First a baby born to listen to the parents and the people around. A baby tried to listen a whole year. Then he can remember what the people said and start to speak for a very short simple word. Then he tried to speak a long sentence. Sometimes his sentence made us laugh. This is the most genius from God’s work.

  • U think that once you reach a B1 more or less you can only learn from context
    My English sucked until I started watching films/YouTube videos/watching memes/ reading books etc in English
    I’m trying to apply it to French now xd watching that ladybug

  • I would really love to translate your videos, would that be possible? they’re amazing and have helped me a lot:) thanks in advance

  • thank you for sharing this powerful information! I have a 3 months baby and i would like to teach him English and Spanish at the same time, I hope to have success!

  • Paul, could you talk about children and 2nd or 3rd language? I have a kid with 1y7m and my wife speaks Br portuguese with him, but when I am alone with him, usually I speak french. Today is easy to see that he can understand “commands” without distinction in both languages. However, he is not able to speak even “papa, “mama”. My wife believe that maybe this happens because we speak 2 languages, and sometimes my wife parents can speak some japanese too. Do you have any concept about this? Thanx a lot.

  • Just stumbled onto this channel… and i love it!
    I have 4 year old twins (b/g) and our household is trilingual. My husband speaks french, i speak english and some french and the nanny french creole. We can say that our household speaks mostly French. The kids started school and the teachers are saying that my sons son’s vocabulary is very low. Im worried that i chose to speak french at home and i am not fluent tha i caused his delay. Consequently he has trouble following insturctions and making friends at school.
    As for English, they both understand it but cant really put sentences together yet.
    So im asking myself did i just mess up my kids?????
    I chose french to be their primary language because of their father and its a REALLY hard language to pick up in the later years…
    Do you guys think i made the right decision and did i mess them up for good ��

  • Before I had my first class I had a beautiful childhood, but I never learned how to calculate and I was an immigrant. So I couldn’t understand what the teacher was saying and my mom couldn’t teach me mathematics. So I read a lot to learn the language but missed first math classes.

    I got my a levels because math was not part in it. I’m so thankful because I’m 20 and I use my fingers to calculate:D language is so important! I think that’s the only reason why I’m so bad with math. I had a Traumata because numbers were hieroglyphics to me. My teacher knew I was an immigrant but never helped me.

  • I learned 3 languages in total side by side as a childHindi, Punjabi and English. As I have grown up, I can speak all three languages fluently. My question to you is, what is the maximum number of languages you can learn as a child without getting too confused?

  • The best way i found to learn a new language is buy baby learnig books in that language and keep rereading, then get age 2 and reread.. age 3.. and so on.. then get into the grammer of it

  • Ok so I’m 12, practically a child, and it isn’t any easier for me to learn French, Comment ça va?�� that’s the extent of my French

  • Are you telling me that to learn a language I have to let go of my pride and be willing to make mistakes and look foolish all in an effort to learn and improve? Alright, cool. Not only will I learn a new language but it sounds like I’ll also become a more humble human being who is driven by internal success not by society’s judgments!:-D

  • There are different types of intelligence, skills and mental plasticity does not end with childhood, so yes, there’s great hope for Pete! Pete could be a great athlete, he could be a great dancer, singer, composer, methematician (musica and math have their own language) or he could have caught up ideas and language from other sources than the nanny, with the right motivation and the right support Pete will be fine and learn loads, at the same time Lucy could become discouraged, could be limited by an introverted nature that does not allow her to express herself verbally as much as others, this assuming that both children have no learning or developmental imparement. So there are many, many nuances to child development and parents could be discouraged by someone tellign them that their child can’t focus (for example) because he didn’t receive adequate linguistic tools in time. There are rare extreme examples of learning disabilities due to total language imparement but that’s not what usually happens in average lives.The presentation is nice but a little limitative and it paints a black and white picture of the issue (quite literally, haha), also the nanny with a traditional cone hat is a little (a lot) patronising, where I live in Asia only very old people, usually gardeners, wear them…or tourists, it’s not a thing, seriously. Anyway I do appreciate the channel and the videos.

  • I want to share my story with my progress of learning english here.

    In germany where i live you start learning english in highschool, which starts in germany commonly with the beginning of the 5th school year. So when i came into highschool (in germany we call it “Gymnasium” which is acctualy the ancient greek word for a sports rehearsal-place) i learned english for 2 years, but after it i wasn’t realy able to speak and understand english. In the summerholydays back then i got my first PC and from this point onwards i used the internet a lot. Interistingly enough today i can speak and read english very well and i am absolutly convinced that this is because i heard and read many many things in the internet in english and thus i learned the language through seaing and hearing what others do and intimidate it. Just like kids do i guess…

    This convinced my that you can infact learn a language like a kid, you just need to do it unconciously!

  • What if we try teaching them two languages during their early years? My family speaks fluent english (which is important since we live in the US) but knowing Arabic is also important to our culture, family and religion, and i know its difficult to learn languages past the age of seven. Would they not be able to distinguish the different languages and grow confused?

  • Now I am a bit worried �� English is not my first language and married to a native English speaker. We are expecting our baby and I wanted to raise him/her bilingual but now worried that my “limited” vocabulary collection might set the child back ��

  • So how about the kids speaking 2 / 3 languages before the age of 3 years old how many vocabulary they learn? I worked with kids speaking 3 languages before 3 years and they are the smartest. The boy in this video may learn only 500 words of his mother tongue but he also learn vocabularies of a second language which is good

  • This is very interesting, English is my second language (well third, I have two native languages) and I started learning it at school when I was, I think, 8 years old. I can’t remember ever studying it very hard except reading homework aloud to my parents. I knew most of the words we had in our weekly tests, and if I didn’t, I picked them up easily. I remember when I was 12 and we had an assignment; to discuss something in group and record it. It just clicked and I couldn’t stop speaking, everything just came out without any effort. I’m 17 now, and I don’t know everything a native speaker would, but I try to use a thesaurus when writing to increase my vocabulary. I use English daily, in almost every media I consume, but I’m also trying to learn other languages and I never knew it would be so hard!

  • we have moved from talking about the histry of linguistics to talking about linguistics_X rays.the problem is to make kids learn…………awesome!!! MY books are seen in the class

  • If, as an adult, you were abandoned in the middle of the rainforest in South America, and were taken in by a local tribe of natives who spoke no language other than their own, how long would it take you to learn their language and be able to fit in with their lifestyle?

  • 2:02 Well, there still remains the possibility that when cats meow, they’re actually saying: “there’s a genetic component to this, no matter how much I teach them, no human is ever gonna be a great conversation partner, they just don’t have the abillity of language”. We should be very careful about our long tradition of anthropocentrism when trying to assess the ability of animals to speak.

  • This reminds me of my daughter and non-verbal autistic son, despite their environment and influences being much more similar. I definitely think Pete will likely find ways to compensate for the areas he lacks. I’m positive there are plenty of successful Petes’. Lucy just has a measurable advantage.

  • There are parallels in this story to that of helicopter parenting. In the story, the problem is the language barrier of the nanny. In the bubble wrapping child parallel, the problem is the hindered experiences from the nanny state that believe that EVERYTHING is dangerous and is overprotective. This results in the child is hindered greatly on exploring. Schools also focus on test scores so that they can receive maximum funding. They reduce free play because it gets in the way of precious study time.

  • The dominance of English is an issue. As a native English speaker, when I speak or write to someone in their native language, more often than not they reply in English. At that point I’m reluctant to insist we continue to communicate in their native language. It is not the most efficient means of communication, and they’ve already indicated they prefer to communicate in English.

  • well, it’s cool, but I still think that the best way to learn is through listening and interacting with people who speak the language, even thou, listening to kids talking is also good to understand what they are saying or if you have a kid and then your kid will talk to you and need you talk to him as well.

  • In my eyes main problem with adults speaking foreign language is our fears. We are overthinking. Oh my god my English is terrible, what will people think of me? It is so embarrassing….

    Kids doesn’t have those hang ups. They use what they have. And they gradually improve.

  • So, what’s going to happen now whit “New Generation” parents that have less time for their kids and when together often their attention is on the mobile phone?

  • It’s not that Pete is late. It’s that he will simply have a harder time, which means that if Lucy does everything he does in terms of language learning she will move even further. His potential is being limited but it still exists. Just like you can learn to draw at age 40, it is recommended you do when you are a little kid because that will expedite the process significantly. I personally find myself learning words every single day in English since it is not my native language but it is still the language I use the most with other Native English speakers. To expand one’s vocabulary, reading is a great tool, but new words should still be written down and learned separately from the book to add even more context in order to make the word stick.

    I’m currently learning Japanese and find it quite easy to learn new vocabulary when I have something to connect it to using stories and images.

  • That’s the exact reason I use Duolingo; despite the fact that I’ve unlocked all the levels or lessons in it (yes you can do that) the first or second day after I dowloaded it. I know it’s so easy and I’m probably in a more advanced level than it but to get a crown you have to repeat the same lesson so many times…rather irkingly so many. But it’s that repeating I want, my knowledge in french may exceed it but that same knowledge is slow, non-efficient and it’d rather take me so long to say a legitimate sentence. It’s like Dingluo is polishing that knowledge.

    Does this mean that I recommend the app for sb who is starting out in a language, NO NOT AT ALL. In my opinion, rather tarting by a proper grammar book, which should also contain exercises or you want benefit a teenzy bit from it, is much much better than starting from scratch by Duolingo, or maybe you can use it as a practice tool, in that case only, I’d reaaaally recommend it.

  • Idk? I think it’s about kids don’t give up and there not afraid of learning with mistakes and they listen and trying to learn new vocab and spend many hours. The productive hours is what counts kids spend many hours a day learning vs adults an hour or so making the time it takes to learn much longer

  • To be fair, children under 6 actually do have far more synapses firing in their brain than adults do, which means that it’s drastically easier for them to learn languages (look up the Critical Period Hypothesis if you’re interested). Still, you give some great tips! Thanks for the video!

  • in my opinion is never too late to learn new language. that’s remember me a story for a video long ago wich an old man speak english very fast because had a crush in a old women who speak only english. He find a motivation. as always excellent quality and content video.

  • Don’t you think your suggestion to ignore how children speak, will result in us being ignorant when speaking TO children or interacting with children in that language. Do you ignore children in Japan? Surely you want to communiciate with them as much as adults!?

  • What about bilingual children learning a foreign language in a foreign country? For example, I have a son. He is four now. He is sociable and talkative child. He has a wide range of vocabulary in his native language. So, I’m afraid that it would be very difficult for him to express himself and to communicate in the foreign country. He wouldn’t understand why other children don’t want to talk to him or don’t understand him. He couldn’t express himself clearly. I’m afraid that our moving will be very stressful for him and it will have negative impact on his personality. Should we cancel our decision in order not to hurt his psyche?Or are my fears unfounded and it would be not so stressful for him to learn another language through emigration in his young age?

  • Why are you using the Union Flag to represent English instead of the English flag? There are other langagues spoken in the United Kingdom you know?

  • I’m 11 and learning Japanese and ive been learning for a couple months and i know atleast 10 kanji all hiragana and about half katakana

  • FUN FACT: I was born and raised in Germany and grew up hearing German and Hungarian from my parents. Since I was about 10 years old (I’m 17 now) I’ve spent so much time online watching videos/films, listening to music and communicating in video games in English that it’s become my main language to think in. Of course I don’t always have to translate in my head when I speak in German or Hungarian but when I’m alone I’ve completely stopped thinking in German.

  • This video was interesting.In my perception I feel that, language is not only the tool to communicate.It is one of the way because it is globally accepted one. May be his interpersonal ability can be high. Children are unique.Rather shaping them to adjust with them we can be wider in thinking and go with their flow. I strongly believe, we can learn many things from them.once we admit at times that” we are ignorant”

  • I am learning to write and read Japanese and putting most of my focus on that so that I can read stories and build up my vocab through that and videos

  • So its better for the child if the nanny speak her native language to the child, enabling the child to be bilingual rather than the child learn a limited vocabulary in its own native language. Who knew!!

  • My cat is bilingual. She pays attention, listens, understands all commands, but she only gets excited when she hears the words food and treat, and ignore all the rest.

  • years ago i started to watch german chanel for kids without knowing the language. i didnt study it also. then i stopped and forgot about it, but when one year ago i decided to learn german, got the motivation, i found out how easier it was for me than for all my friends whos learning german with me. i guess thats because i already had an experience of listening the language for a pretty long time and i understand it better intuitively. I also know some phrases and words i never learned, thats really cool thing.

  • This is why universal pre-k is essential to the overall betterment of society. If you build up a strong foundation in the early years it becomes easier and children don’t have to struggle as much expressing themselves and getting what they need.

  • People hate grammar because they were badly taught in school. Actually, grammar is a brilliant short cut for adults, but not for kids. For instance, by trial and error, and after listening to thousands of repetitions under many years, it dawns on a German kid that you’re supposed to say “ich bin” but “du bist” and “er ist”. An adult can acquire the same information in seconds, because he understands the concept of grammar. People should learn to love grammar instead of hating it.
    Another thing: motivation. A kid desperately wants to learn to talk properly so that he can make himself understood, and also because older kids, his older brothers and sisters for example, tease him mercilessly for his mistakes. His mother and old relations are very nice about it, they think he’s cute. But his peers bully him. An adult is not that motivated. He can skip his evening German class and nobody cares. Also, when he does make it to class his teacher is nice to him even though he hasn’t done his homework, instead of humiliating him as he deserves. So adults can learn faster but don’t really care. Kids are slow learners but they care a lot.
    Thanks for your videos, Paul!

  • This is so interesting. I started learning English around 17-18 and got my C2 certificate by age 22. Now I want to learn another language and I don’t even remember how I did it the first time around lmao

  • I don’t think children have any inherent need to discuss ladybugs, choo choo trains, comic book labels or anthropomorphised animals that don’t naturally exist, can’t be interacted with or used in the described form. Adults around the child have chosen to present these topics to him, and speak in a dumbed down way on purpose. As a child I knew not to mention adult topics from television or use rude words, to answer back to adults in a manner that pleased them. There was definitely some restraint at all times. At one stage I was taken to a speech specialist who wanted me to name objects that she drew on paper, but I didn’t say anything in fear of being judged by my mother who wouldn’t leave.

    As an adult, I find that I have to understand and express everything through my native language. I have to think this way and translate all the time. Also if I hear music, see a picture and hear words at the same time, I must accept the message and tone of the words without a choice. A psychotherapist once told me that a child has some internal representation of “concepts” or “images” through which he can remember dreams. And that the ability to access this layer is gone with development of language.

  • there are three main takeaways for me here.

    repeated watching/reading of insert media

    and with all these, they are things that matter to you, and things that you enjoy.

  • If you are very stubborn and love languages, you can still learn as an adult. It takes great patience and tons of repetition. It helps to befriend a native speaker of the given language. Don’t give up! ��

  • you can learn it as a student. I wanted to learn French better, so I decided to go do my bachelor in French and learnt it like this. I had Chinese classes in French, so I learnt a lot of words in French, that I d never have learnt without studying chinese.

  • As many people already stated in the comments, i also learned english mainly from youtube (pewdiepie etc), i have started to watch youtube around 2013 and already had a solid understanding of english (I estimate around A2-B1), if i assume i watched youtube for around two hours a day ( very reasonable for a 15-20 years old) since 2013 that’s accumulates to around 5000 hours, i dont consider myself fluent mainly because i only know everydayenglish and i wasn’t exposed to more advanced english like you encounter in business scenarios or any professional scenario and such, and i thought about it before starting to learn a new language maybe i should get fluent in english before learning a third language but i came to conclusion that if i already can read and listen to english and understand 90%-100% of it, it would be a waste of time to become fluent because i will need to spend so many hours just to understand 10% more. So im fine not being fluent:)

  • These tips are actually very true. Repetition is very key. And passion and motivation and keep practicing the same things. It’s kind of effective I believe you. I’ve watched a movie so many times I can quote it all. And for Spanish I’ve listed to a certain song in Spanish so many times that I can sing along to parts of it even though I don’t know the words for sure. But there’s a balance of everything. Kids books, movies, music, reading, writing, talking in the language, listening to others. Talking with others, reading while having audio book. Repetition like you said.
    Great video I actually watched the entire thing. Which means you succeeded in presenting great points. Thanks

  • I grew up in a household where two different languages were spoken. English and Pulaar. Although, living in America, it’s obvious that the former caught on more.
    Funny thing is I can understand Puular near perfectly but I can’t speak it.

  • I really recommend watching and listening to kids songs/rhymes in your target language if you’re an absolute beginner. It’s awesome for comprehensive input. Not only do they increase your vocab, but they give you a vague sense of the grammar in that language. Directly relating the words to pictures helps tremendously, instead of using your native language to connect to your target language. Like he said, they’re repetitive and help us to comprehend better.

  • I am using an immersion program right now, and find that it’s not so much from learning like a child does, but the sheer repetition that I’m hearing and reading. However, as valuable as I find it, it’s not enough by itself. I supplement with a book and flash cards, and use their accompanying audio while I’m on the go. Even though it’s marketed as a stand alone learning program, without the book I use, (which also explains the grammar), I’d be lost.

  • Learning like a child isn’t practical. As a child, you speak a lot of gibberish for years until you speak your first correct sentence. That’s not practical as an adult. You want to have phrases and sentences that you can instantly use, that make sense.
    Also, children learn with both halves of their brain, because they have to connect the languages with things they see, hear or feel, because it’s their first language. As an adult, you mostly learn a language with your left brain half. You connect the new words with words from your native language.

  • fun fact, just learnt that ladybuck is « cocinelle » in French, bc we had to do a translation from Chinese to French, and i asked my teacher to spell the word, bc I didn’t know it and then looked it up on google. (they hear that i m a non native and we re a small class, so it’s ok)

  • 06:50 this is amazing probably the best bit of this video because it’s true, non native speakers say those common ‘bits’ of language incorrectly. Sorry i’m not a linguist i imagine there’s a term for them and it’s not ‘bits of language’ but i don’t know what it is. Those are the things i am trying to learn in Portuguese. That’s one thing that Michel Thomas does well.

  • Babies do not learn a language easily because they have plenty of free time. They learn the language at the same time as they develop their emotional regulation systems. In other words, they learn the language through perceptual channels that become integrated with the limbic system. Comparing adult language learning with children learning is like comparing apples to oranges. Adults have more difficulty with language learning than babies no matter how much free time they have.

  • I started watching youtube when i was 7 (mind that im in a non-english speaking country) and learned most of what i know from here

  • I took a “2 months of holiday” by not learning French at all, after 1 year of French intensive class (25 hours/weekdays)… plus DELF B1 & B2 *sigh
    I still watch French films/series/youtube videos and see French memes everywhere, but I took a step back from “intense study”.
    Because I don’t want to feel overwhelmed, I want to enjoy French and use it unconsciously.

  • Adults can definitely learn new languages, The easiest way to learn spanish is not through duolingo bird, its by moving to spain, commiting a crime that would get you a few years in prison so you would be forced to learn spanish to survive in order to survive in that prison.

  • Swedish is my native language but I speak fluent English so sometimes I think in English or forget the word in Swedish so I mix them into a swenglish word. Plus I’m only 13

  • I’ve been trying to understand movies in my target language, even tho Im able to understand fast podcasts to an extent of 95%, movies tend to be way harder, because of mumbling, therefore changing the frequency of the sounds, like matt says. The thing is, I always watch without subtitles, and when im not able to differentiate the sounds, i rewatch at least 3 times with maximum focus, and then i turn on the subs to see what i missed, then I turn it off and try to this time catch the sounds that I initially missed. Although its been working, I cant tell if the process of watching with substitles and searching for the sounds is helping, or just the fact that im increasing my active listening(if thats even doable haha!) just thought about sharing, love your enthusiasm about languages, its great! wish i had found this community earlier 😉

  • i’m sorry but when you said your wife told you your son wasn’t even reading from harry mclearry and just randomly shouted out that paragraph i burst out laughing that was my favorite part of the video

  • Thank god for these videos…im 5 1/2 months pregnant with my first child and am so nervous about how to be a parent…thank you for your videos sprout!

  • I remember when so-called audio-visual methods for teaching languages were introduced in schools in the late 1960s and I thought how innovatory it must be to learn a foreign language in the way that we learned our own. Being 16 or 17 at the time and having learnt German the “traditional” way, i.e. lots of grammar and translation, I thought I’d missed out and wished I was five years younger. A few years later however it became clear to me that the new methods were misguided if not fatally flawed for the very reasons that you describe. I found myself on teaching practice trying to teach German to secondary school pupils using “Sprich mal Deutsch”, not exactly audio-visual but a textbook which used “Bildvokabeln” for words and actions instead of giving English equivalents the theory being that by avoiding English the pupils would think in German. Alas, it didn’t happen. Each time I asked them a set question in German they asked each other what it meant in English before attempting an answer

  • I disagree a bit on the “listening for a year” part. I think this depends absolutely on your goals. If just good conversational level is your goal for your travels or contact with the local community from time to time, then yes, you can start with your own output much quicker, but if your goal is native-like skill and pronunciation, spending at least a couple of months with just input, before you start to parrot, before you then start to create your own output, will help you in the long run as you are less likely to fossilize mistakes that will be much harder to correct than having learned and internalized the correct structures and in particular pronunciation in the first place. So, having quite a long “just input” phase, even if impatient adults feel it like that, is not a waste of time. You’re also building your vocabulary and you’re also training your ear much better, which in the long run will help you to decode spoken input and thus make your brain use less resources in the language learning process ahead.
    As an adult, you have the advantage to combine the infant’s intuitive pattern recognition with cognitive analytical capabilities. You can, for example, choose your input (i.e. minimal pair recordings, sentence collections with exactly the structure you want to learn, etc.) so you don’t have to rely on the input your parents may or may not give you and you can use your ability to read to get extra vocabulary input.

  • I can’t believe I haven’t watched this before! (Or If I have, I don’t remember.) I think you make some good points. Generally speaking, I think some people (myself included) tend to forget that interesting/exciting content is fundamental in language learning. Language is a tool for communication, culture etc. and, therefore, it is (more than) okay to focus on input that is rewarding in of itself, instead of staring blindly into a textbook, conjugation table, or language learning app.

    On the topic of cognitive differences between kids and adults when it comes to language learning, I think everybody interested (and not disheartened by academic language) should take a look at JL Elman’s “Learning and development in neural networks: the importance of starting small”. It’s an academic paper but I think the introduction should be understandable even for people without any knowledge of neural networks. It’s not the focus of that part of the paper. The research isn’t exactly new (late 80s/early 90s) but from my rudimental understanding of neurolinguistics and neuropsychology, I believe it’s still very valid, and I know that it is still used in university courses (e.g. regarding typical language development in children) at least where I live.

    (This whole comment basically just turned into an English writing exercise for me.)

  • In quarantine i use grammar istead of thai now i forgot some thai word and sometimes can’t complete a sentence without saying english word

  • I’m a 13 year old Croatian speaker and I think I started to know English fluently about a year ago (?) and I speak it so much that I forget basic Croatian words. Some of my friends are learning English along with me because they try to understand what I’m saying

  • Actually that is exactly how I learned Persian. I moved to Iran, got totally immersed in the language and culture and could understand and have a complete conversation in less than a year. Most people thought I was a native until I said a word with a bit of accent. I know it is a rare situation but it CAN happen. But the difference in learning as an adult is that your brain inevitably tries to refer to your first or mother language. It’s like you always have a second option programmed into your brain.

  • Thanks for this video, it really helped! I started to speak Russian when I was 3-4 years old, I learned them through cartoons. Like you said, I watched the same episodes many times. My third language is English, which I started to learn at school, but I really started to speak and understand after watching videos on Youtube.
    I’m now learning French and since you are as well, can you give me some advice?

  • Recently, I’ve been into listening to TedX talks in Mandarin, Arabic and French. It helps with pronunciation and familiarity with sounds.

  • So when your son was two and a half he was able to read! Great! We must have a big issu in France because here children begin to learn how to read only at six and it takes years.

    Do kids memorise when they acquire their mother tongue, let say from the time they are in the womb to the age of five/six? I don’t think so. Or at least during this period it is not consciously. By the way a lot depends on the parents because to have parents able to explain read books, play etc. help the child to acquire his/her mother tongue.

    Why do we acquire at least one language? Yes why do we speak? Maybe because we realise quickly that it is vital in order to live in this micro society called a family.

    I still don’t know how babies think. Obviously when a six month see a red button on a bus he doesn’t say in his head: ” oh what’s that, let’s touch it to see what will happen. ” He doesn’t have the necessary vocabulary. Because babies can’t read, all acquisitions of any mother tongue are oral. Babies have to recognise when they hear they hear something if it is a sound or a word and where this word begins and where it ends. When his mother say to him “Look the little dog!” It takes a lot of time and repetitions before he remember that a puddle is a dog but a cocker spaniel too, but auntie’s cat isn’t. Babies acquire their mother tongue by chunk (blocks of words) how do they manage to do that? for me it is a total mystery.

    Can we replicate their way of acquire a language when we are older, let say from 12 to grown up? I don’t think so. Because kids from 0 to five have plenty of time before them and because of our mother tongue that takes a lot of place. We have to do with it.

  • I just watched one of your videos that was basically “nathaniel drew was not literal enough about language learning” so don’t over simplify, be literal here too! Kids have some fairy dust and it’s exposure to informaiton before synaptic pruning!!!! Here’s a quick intro:

  • “Children’s material repeats itself, then adds on to that, than repeats those two things, adds something and so on.”
    So… this is why almost every country on earth can fill concert venues with people who can fluently shout, with basically perfect pronunciation:


  • “don’t remorize random words”

    M8 that depends on the goal, my goal for Vietnamese is to understand music and translate live, it’s just about starting to come together

    If your goal is to speak to someone to work in the language I think days of the week, numbers and stuff related to the job would be best

    If it’s just an interest go with what you’re interested in

  • I think you are wrong. Children learn lists of words in school as they are growing up, starting in the 1st grade. They learn the days of the week and months in a list.

  • Ok I know science is science and whatever, but im in Italy learning Italian at the moment and i came here knowing nothing. Litterally nothing. I can now have basic conversations with strangers and understand most thinks when the language isn’t too quick. Ive studied a bit but really its not a large amont. I would argue that adults can learn at the same pace or faster than kids but simply don’t have the time, but i don’t think that kids have some like brain advantage because I’m learning way faster than a baby at the moment. Another point is that kids ask questions about grammer and words and pronounciation the same as I do, and this is a form of studying, it isn’t all listening. In Italy they even study grammer in school as children cause the Italian grammer is so complicated and many, older children still get it wrong.

  • My problem isn’t pride my favourite book series is CHERUB (check them out for French) which is aimed at 8-12 year olds, but it’s that repetition is boring and the mind drifts.

  • Hi Paul,

    thanks for this interesting video. Being a language teacher myself, I am always interested in various ideas.

    I would agree that adults cannot be treated just like children as far as language learning is concerned.

    However, I am very doubtful about generalisations and would always try to take my individual students’ approaches (Frederic Vester calls them learning types) and my own (dis)abilities to meet them into consideration.

    As for myself, I have recently started to learn Spanish through Duolingo. The programme gives me the vocabulary and I deduce the grammar from what I see.

    What do you and the others here think about the Birkenbihl method? I have just had a short encounter with it and find it a little intriguing.

    Anyway, thanks for the video once again and God bless for more to come.

    Wishing you success,


  • i try to watch family guy and american dad in spanish it has been 10 days an it still sounds like complete nonsense they talk way to fast too. i am between the ages of 2-16 so does it change anything ( i want to learn at least Spanish before i turn 18)

  • Well reasoned and presented how the realities of being an adult impacts the technique for learning a second language. Seems you are lacking in giving credit how the brains of young children are set up to so efficiently and easily learn languages.

  • This is really interesting. I never thought about it like this before. Just learning vocabulary not really caring if it is useful in the current moment or not. Simply just learning the language. I’m gonna start doing this. Thanks for the help!

  • Then this childhood affects ones language learning then am i good at learning language or… i am coming from bilingual family but they have limited vocabulary how does this affects me

  • THANK YOU! For God’s sakes! I’ve been telling people this for years, but it always seems to just pass them. That’s why submersion is the best means of language learning available to adults and foreign exchange students are such a good idea.