How difficult is it to learn a new language?

todayJanuary 11, 2023 72

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They say you can achieve anything you set your mind to, but lately I have been wondering how easy or difficult is it to learn a new language?

Ever since Chazz came back from her mini break, all happy and refreshed, she’s been determined to learn what she now calls her second language – Khoekhoegowab.

According to Wikipedia , the Khoekhoe language (Khoekhoegowab), also known by the ethnic terms Nama (Namagowab) /ˈnɑːmə/, Damara (ǂNūkhoegowab), or Nama/Damara and formerly as Hottentot, is the most widespread of the non-Bantu languages of Southern Africa that make heavy use of click consonants and therefore were formerly classified as Khoisan, a grouping now recognized as obsolete.

It belongs to the Khoe language family, and is spoken in NamibiaBotswana, and South Africa primarily by three ethnic groups: NamakhoenǂNūkhoen, and Haiǁomkhoen.

I can just imagine how much more difficult it must be to learn a language with click consonants, however it is not impossible.  So, I have decided to do some research on the biggest challenges one faces when learning a new language.


According to the online Encyclopedia of writing systems and languages, learning a new language as an adult is difficult, because the older one gets the harder it becomes. And this is why:

1. Lack of time

With a job, and possibly a child or elderly relative to look after it is easy to understand why it might be difficult for one to find the time to learn a new language.

Even watching a video, or taking a short, online class doesn’t seem appealing because most of it represents, even more, loss of your already dwindling free time.


2. You don’t absorb information as easily

As a child, you easily absorb the information you are given from a young age. Your entire life you have probably heard your parents speak one language, watch television in one language, and so on.

You absorbed that one language, and by the time you were able to speak you were able to do so in a somewhat fluent manner. However, as an adult, this becomes difficult, as you don’t absorb this information or make the connections as easily as you did as a child.


3. We treat language learning like any other class

As we try to learn a new language, we try to organize things in a certain way. Much like the different styles of mathematics, or the dates in history.

Learning a language simply doesn’t work like this, and being able to describe how it works doesn’t necessarily help in being able to learn it.


4. Adults try too hard to “Figure things out”

As you become older you tend to develop a key towards problem solving, which leads you to look at a language from a completely different standpoint from a child. A child is told that an apple is red, they do not question it, or ensure that they say it correctly. They simply know that it is red. However, as an adult, you don’t go from point “A” to point “B” as easily. You spend a lot of time trying to figure out why, which makes it hard to understand the basic point the language had made.

There are many reasons as to why it is difficult for an adult to learn a new language. Due to the fact that we think and act differently from children. However learning a new language is not impossible. Everyone learns in a different manner, it’s up to you for you to find the best way for yourself to learn.


Written by: Paula Christoph

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