The best time for a person to learn a new language

IELTS Writing Task 2 with sample answer.

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Some people believe that the best time for a person to learn a new language is when he/she is a child.  Others feel adults learn languages better and faster than children.

Discuss both of these views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Sample Answer:
Herbert Geoffrey Willans, an English author and journalist, said, “you can never understand one language until you understand at least two”. People are split in their opinion when it comes to the issue whether a child or an adult is better to the acquisition of a new language. Some people think that childhood is the best time to acquire a second language, while others opine that adults can learn a foreign language better and faster than children. As far as it concerns me that adults are better than children in acquisition of a new language.

To commence with, one thing is needed to be clear that there is a difference between learning and acquisition. That is to say, second language learning is not the same as second language acquisition. Learning is a conscious process in which people study to acquire a new language, while the second language acquisition happens in subconscious process. In the case of children, they obtain a new language through the subconscious system. A child can acquire a new language if exposed to it on a regular basis in a social setting. So, children may naturally obtain native fluency in a new language under these circumstances.

On the other hand, many linguists tend to believe that adults are better than children as they have pre-existing language knowledge. Adults already know how to structure a sentence, and they have a good sense of pronunciation, punctuation, and spelling, while children are still developing these skills. Adults, in fact, possess an internalized grammar of the native language which is conducive to learning a new language. In my opinion, however, I believe that children are better when it comes to a new language acquisition. According to many neuroscientists, children utilize a part of their brain called “deep motor area” in order to process language information. The process is an automatic function of children’s brain which is used to obtain language, so it is a natural process for the children.

All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that the children are better at acquisition of a new language than adults. Since, children can acquire a new language naturally. Therefore, early age is the best time for an individual to obtain a second language.